Last Friday an engineering professor at the University of Arkansas was arrested for concealing his connections with China even as he was receiving grant money from NASA. Dr. Simon Ang was part of a Chinese effort to pay American academics to share their research in China known as the Thousand Talents program. Dr. Ang is at least the fifth professor who has been arrested in connection with the Thousand Talents program in the past year:
Simon Ang of the University of Arkansas, was arrested on Friday and charged on Monday with wire fraud. He worked for and received funding from Chinese companies and from the Thousand Talents program, which awards grants to scientists to encourage relationships with the Chinese government, and he warned an associate to keep his affiliation with the program quiet, court papers said.
He kept the financial arrangements secret, allowing him to secure other grants from American government agencies, including NASA, that the Chinese funding made him ineligible for, according to court documents.
The other professor, Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li, a former professor at Emory University in Atlanta, pleaded guilty on Friday to a felony charge of filing a false tax return that omitted about $500,000 that he received from the Thousand Talents program. He was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay $35,089 in restitution.
Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li, the professor Dr. Ang allegedly told to keep quiet, was fired (along with his wife) from Emory University last May. The government claimed that they had both failed to disclose funding from China, but at the time Dr. Xiao-Jiang denied that he had done anything wrong: