Harvard professor on trial for hiding ties with China

Harvard professor on trial for hiding ties with China

A Harvard University professor charged with hiding his ties to a Chinese-run recruitment program is scheduled to stand trial in Boston.

Jury selection is slated to start Tuesday in the trial of Charles Lieber, the former chair of Harvard’s department of chemistry and chemical biology.

The case was among the highest profile to come from the U.S. Department of Justice’s so-called “China Initiative,” which was launched in 2018 under former President Donald Trump to curb economic and academic espionage from China.

Lieber’s lawyer, Marc Mukasey, didn’t comment Monday ahead of the trial but said last year that “the government has this wrong” and that “when justice is done, Charlie’s good name will be restored.”

Lieber was arrested last January on allegations that he hid his involvement in China’s Thousand Talents Plan, a program designed to recruit people with knowledge of foreign technology and intellectual character to China.

Lieber was paid $50,000 a month by the Wuhan University of Technology in China, given up to $158,000 in living expenses and awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to establish a research lab at the Chinese university, prosecutors said.

In exchange, prosecutors say, Lieber agreed to publish articles, organize international conferences and apply for patents on behalf of the Chinese university.

He pleaded not guilty to charges including two counts of making false statements to authorities.

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