Harvard Scientist on Trial for Taking Undisclosed Funds from China

In a new case of secret foreign funding to academia, Harvard University scientist Charles Lieber has been put on trial for accepting undisclosed funds from China.

Harvard University
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Charges against Harvard Scientist

Vision Times reported on December 19 that Harvard University scientist Charles Lieber, who is former chair of Harvard’s Chemistry Department, was put on trial on December 14 in Boston.  While he pleaded not guilty to all charges, a 2019 video of an FBI interrogation of Lieber showed that he signed a contract with the Chinese government in 2011 to participate in their research program.

The five-year contract, written in both Chinese and English, provided $50,000 a month and an additional $158,000 in living expenses.

The story says that Lieber became a strategic scientist Wuhan University of Technology and the Chinese University granted him more than $1.5 million to set up a Chinese lab. Lieber hid this funding and contract from the U.S authorities, for which he is now being prosecuted. Harvard University has reportedly suspended Lieber and put him on paid leave.

On December 15, the Omaha World-Herald reported that Defense attorney Marc Mukasey argued in the court that that prosecutors did not have the proof to back their charges against Lieber.

He maintained that investigators didn’t keep any record of their interviews with Lieber prior to his arrest.

The prosecution argued that the defendant agreed to work in favor of the Chinese interests in exchange for the compensation.

Foreign Funding to U.S. Schools

Foreign funding in American institutions of higher learning made news earlier this year when the Education Department via an online portal received reports of nearly $3.8 billion of foreign funding to 60 colleges and universities across the United States. In addition to China, these institutions had been funded by Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The funding came in the form of gifts and contracts and was meant to influence the educational policies of the institutions in favor of the donors.