Monday, April 26, 2021

Hundreds of U.S. scientists feared compromised by China

More than 500 federally funded scientists are under investigation for being compromised by China and other foreign powers, the National Institutes of Health revealed Thursday.

The federal health officials told a Senate committee that they are fighting to keep up with large-scale Chinese efforts to corrupt American researchers and steal intellectual property that scientists hope will lead to biomedical advances.

NIH has contacted more than 90 institutions about more than 200 scientists they’re concerned about, said Dr. Michael S. Lauer, NIH deputy director for extramural research. But the investigations’ workload is weighing down the nation’s top medical research agency, and new cases are turning up constantly across the government.

The Justice Department charged a math professor and university researcher, Mingqing Xiao, on Wednesday with wire fraud over allegations that he hid his Chinese government funding while obtaining funding from the National Science Foundation.

The Southern Illinois University-Carbondale professor, Mingqing Xiao, worked in the mathematics department since 2000 and obtained the Chinese funding starting in 2018, the Justice Department said.

China has targeted research throughout the economy from corn growers to cancer researchers. Last year, Dr. Lauer said, more than 90% of the scientists under investigation had received support from China.

Gary Cantrell, Health and Human Services Department deputy inspector general for investigations, cited the example of researcher Song Guo Zheng, who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last year to lying on applications for NIH grants totaling $4.1 million that he admitted were used to enhance Chinese expertise in rheumatology and immunology.

 U.S. officials also have sounded the alarm that China has tried to hack COVID-19 research and is intent on pilfering U.S. science and technology because it believes American innovation will enable it to overtake the U.S. as a global superpower...MORE

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