Georgia Tech prof 'abused his position' by 'fraudulently' helping Chinese nationals get US visas, DOJ says

Georgia Tech Professor Gee-Kung Chang is accused of using the college’s J-1 Visa Program to "arrange for Chinese nationals to fraudulently obtain and maintain J-1 Visas"

Prosecutors allege that those whom he helped gain entry to the U.S. ended up working for a Chinese Communist Party-owned technology company in New Jersey.

A Georgia Institute of Technology professor accused of using the college’s J-1 Visa Program to “arrange for Chinese nationals to fraudulently obtain and maintain J-1 Visas” was arraigned in a federal court in Georgia, the Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.  

Gee-Kung Chang, who was indicted by a grand jury on March 18, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud, according to a press release. Chang’s alleged co-conspirator, Jianjun Yu, was also arraigned, joining him in what U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine called “The first step toward holding them accountable” for running a tightly orchestrated scheme that placed Chinese nationals at ZTE USA in New Jersey.

ZTE USA is a subsidiary of ZTE Corporation, a technology company partly owned by the Chinese Communist Party. On March 3, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Chinese Communist Party represents America’s “biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century.”

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“To facilitate the entry of the Chinese nationals into the United States, Chang allegedly abused his position as a professor at Georgia Tech, an institution that was a designated exchange sponsor for the Department of State’s J-1 Visa program, to arrange for Chinese nationals to fraudulently obtain and maintain J-1 Visas,” the indictment alleges.

“In the J-1 Visa paperwork submitted to the Department of State, the Chinese nationals allegedly indicated that they would be working with Chang at Georgia Tech. In reality…after arriving in the United States, the Chinese nationals traveled to and resided in New Jersey to work with Yu at ZTE USA.” 

In some cases, according to the Department of Justice, “Chinese nationals were paid salaries from Georgia Tech while they were actually working at ZTE USA.” 

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In a statement provided to Campus Reform, Georgia Tech’s assistant vice president of external communications said: “We are aware that a faculty member at Georgia Tech was indicted and arrested on criminal charges and is currently on administrative leave. Georgia Tech has cooperated fully with the FBI during its investigation. Dr. Chang will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of the judicial process. Georgia Tech is committed to the highest standards of integrity in all areas of operation.” 

Gee-Kung Chang is an expert in telecommunications, digital signal processing, and, optics and photonics, according to his university biography. Throughout his career, he earned 55 patents and co-authored over 300 journal articles and conference papers. 

Follow the author of this article: Dion J. Pierre