Kansas Lecturer Indicted For Concealing Ties to the Chinese Communist Party

A federal jury found an ex-University of Kansas professor guilty of not telling the truth about his job at a government university in China.

New Statement

According to a news statement issued by the Department of Justice, professor Feng Tao conducted a study for the Energy Department and the National Science Foundation.

However, he failed to reveal on many occasions that he was also a prominent professor at China’s Fuzhou University. Tao pleaded guilty to three bank fraud charges and one count of making a false statement.

“The Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) requires professors to make annual reports disclosing any outside work that interferes with or potentially interferes with academic obligations.”

The Justice Department stated Tao did not get authorization from KU before entering into the arrangement with Fuzhou University, failed to tell KU about the job, and lied to hide the employment.

“In December 2018, the defendant relocated to China to work full-time at Fuzhou University, claiming fraudulently to be in Europe.”

To be exact, Tao now awaits up to 20 years in national prison, a fine of up to $250,000 for bank fraud, and up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the scheme fraud counts against him.

Trade Secrets

Tao’s conviction comes less than a week after Xiaoqing Zheng, a former worker at a GE Power facility in New York state, was sentenced for conspiring to steal proprietary information for the Chinese government.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division clarified the following:

“Zheng colluded to steal proprietary information from his employer, GE, and transmit it to a partner in China, with the intent of enriching themselves and businesses receiving support from the government in the PRC.” 

“This is the type of abuse of our economy and inclusive society that the department will fight tooth and nail to prevent.”

“Today’s decision holds Xiaoqing Zheng responsible for cheating his employer and attempting to assist China in defrauding the global marketplace,” Northern District of New York United States Attorney Carla Freedman stated.

“People in law enforcement will help us find and punish people who try to steal trade secrets and valuable technology from forward-thinking businesses in our district.”

In 2020, Charles Lieber, a chemistry and technology professor at Harvard University, was charged with misleading federal authorities regarding his alleged involvement in the Thousand Talents program.

This is a Chinese-led initiative aimed at luring American scientists to help advance China’s technological development. Lieber was subsequently convicted.

Additionally, the Chinese government exerts pressure on Chinese students’ conduct to ensure they do not talk badly about the regime in their home country.

In one such example, government operatives paid a visit to the family of Zhihao Kong, a Purdue University student who engaged in an online rehearsal, commemorating the Tiananmen Square tragedy.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels later sent a letter to students, staff, and faculty to tell them about the incident.