U.S. drops case against MIT professor accused of ties to China

“After a cautious evaluation of this new data within the context of all of the proof, our workplace has concluded that we will now not meet our burden of proof at trial,” Rollins stated. “As prosecutors, we’ve got an obligation in each matter we pursue to regularly look at the info whereas being open to receiving and uncovering new data.”

The result, which had been anticipated and had been earlier recommended by prosecutors in Boston, is an additional setback to the Justice Division’s pursuit of lecturers within the U.S. accused of concealing analysis relationships with China.

The transfer comes because the division completes a assessment of the China Initiative, an effort it launched throughout the Trump administration to crack down on Chinese language financial espionage and commerce secret theft however one critics say has unduly focused researchers based mostly on ethnicity.


Chen was accused final yr of concealing ties to Beijing whereas additionally accumulating U.S. {dollars} for his nanotechnology analysis. Prosecutors accused him on the time of getting into into undisclosed contracts and appointments with Chinese language entities, together with performing as an “abroad skilled” for the Chinese language authorities on the request of the Individuals’s Republic of China Consulate Workplace in New York.

Many of these roles have been “expressly meant to additional the PRC’s scientific and technological objectives,” authorities stated in court docket paperwork.

The case started to wobble as the federal government obtained new data, together with from an Vitality Division official, an individual acquainted with the matter stated final week.

Chen’s attorneys have constantly stated he did nothing unsuitable.

In a press release Thursday, protection legal professional Robert Fisher known as the case a “wayward prosecution” and stated his shopper was keen to return to work.

“Our protection was this: Gang didn’t commit any of the offenses he was charged with. Full cease. He was by no means in a expertise program. He was by no means an abroad scientist for Beijing. He disclosed every thing he was supposed to disclose and he by no means lied to the federal government or anybody else,” Fisher stated in a press release.

Regardless of a conviction last month of a Harvard University professor on expenses that he hid his ties to a Chinese language-run recruitment program, different high-profile instances introduced as half of the China Initiative have faltered.

A federal choose in September, as an example, threw out all charges against a College of Tennessee professor accused of hiding his relationship with a Chinese language college whereas receiving analysis grants from NASA, and the college has since provided to reinstate him.

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