MIT prof arrested over undisclosed China ties

MIT professor Gang Chen was arrested Thursday after failing to disclose contracts, appointments, and awards from the Chinese government.

Since 2012, Chen has allegedly accepted appointments "with the PRC designed to promote the PRC’s technological and scientific development by providing advice and expertise."

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Gang Chen was charged and arrested Thursday after failing to disclose ties to the Chinese government when seeking federal grant money.

This is just the most recent example of a professor at a U.S. college or university to be arrested over undisclosed ties to China. Campus Reform has documented multiple other instances from across the country. 

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According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Chen was charged with wire fraud, failure of filing a foreign bank account report, and making falsifying a statement on a tax return.

Chen is a professor at MIT where he serves as Director of the MIT Pappalardo Micro/Nano Engineering Laboratory and Director of the Solid-State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion Center. 

Since 2013, Chen’s research at MIT has been funded by more than $19 million in grants awarded by the U.S. federal government.

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According to the Justice Department, Chen allegedly accepted various appointments “with the PRC designed to promote the PRC’s technological and scientific development by providing advice and expertise.” 

Often times, Chen received financial compensation for the appointments.

The DOJ accused Chen of using his MIT email to outline his efforts to promote “the PRC’s scientific and economic development.” 

An email obtained by the DOJ read:

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Additionally, Chen is accused of failing to disclose a bank account in the People’s Republic of China that contained “more than $10,000 in 2018.”

A spokesperson for MIT told Campus Reform that the allegations leveled against Chen are “distressing.”

“MIT was deeply distressed by the arrest of Professor Gang Chen...MIT believes the integrity of research is a fundamental responsibility, and we take seriously concerns about improper influence in U.S. research. Prof. Chen is a long-serving and highly respected member of the research community, which makes the government’s allegations against him all the more distressing,” the spokesperson said.

Gang Chen did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @kylehreynolds