In a development underscoring how deep the Chinese have penetrated systems internationally, police are after three moles of China, including an American citizen, associated with universities and a hospital in the Boston area of the US. They are accused of lying about their ties with China.
The American citizen among the suspected moles is the Department of Chemistry of Harvard University and the Chairman of Chemical Biology Dr Charles Lieber, reports CBS Boston.
Prosecutors said Lieber had a contract with the Wuhan Institute of Technology. He also ran a group that had contracts with the US Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health according to the report.
Federal agents said Lieber lied about his ties to China when he bid on those contracts.
The US Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling is cited in the CBS Boston report as saying, “It appears China paid Lieber hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for his involvement with the Chinese entities and for his work on research for Chinese gain.”
Police arrested Lieber in his Harvard University office. The varsity administration has placed him on leave amounting to his suspension. He will not be able to participate in his teaching or research roles, the university said.
A Harvard spokesman issued a statement on Lieber’s arrest:
The second person to be indicted is Yanqing Ye, a Chinese citizen working as a researcher at Boston University. Lelling said Yanking was a Chinese army lieutenant who did not disclose the fact while applying for a US visa. He is currently in China and has not been arrested. “A border search of her electronic devices showed that Ye had complied information for the People’s Liberation Army about two U.S. residents with expertise in robotics and computer science,” Lilling said.
Boston University said that Ye had left the school in April 2019. The varsity said it was fully cooperating in the investigation.
The third person with incriminating evidence against him is a Chinese national called Zaosong Zheng. Harvard sponsored him to work as a researcher at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Smuggling biological material from the country allegedly, he was arrested at the Logan Airport in December. The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center released a statement disowning this Chinese national. They said:
Lelling explained the presence of three moles in the area thus: “Boston is an especially attractive target for this kind of exploitation. Universities, research institutions and tech companies in this area must become sensitized to this type of threat.”
The US Attorney for Massachusetts added, “This is not an accident or coincidence. This is a small sample of China’s ongoing campaign to siphon off American technology and knowhow for Chinese gain.”