Prosecutors drop China Initiative case against MIT’s Gang Chen | Science

A federal judge has actually dismissed charges against Gang Chen, a teacher of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) implicated of lying about his ties to China.

It was among the greatest profile cases under the federal government’s 3-year-old China Initiative, which is meant to avoid China from taking U.S.-funded research study. Critics of the initiative state it has actually unjustly targeted researchers of Chinese descent in attempting to impose uncertain guidelines about what researchers require to reveal about their research study activities when looking for a federal grant.

“Today is a great day,” stated Rob Fisher, Chen’s lawyer, in a declaration reported by The Washington Post and other media outlets. “The government finally acknowledged what we have said all along: Professor Gang Chen is an innocent man. … He was never an overseas scientist for Beijing. He disclosed everything he was supposed to disclose, and he never lied to the government or anyone else.”

U.S. Department of Justice legal representatives today asked District Court Judge Patti Saris to dismiss the charges since the federal government had “obtained additional information … on the defendant’s alleged omissions” which, as an outcome, it “can no longer meet its burden of proof at trial.”

Chen was prosecuted in January 2021 and charged with lying to the Department of Energy on a 2017 grant application, stopping working to report a foreign checking account, and making an incorrect declaration on his income tax return. His is among 2 lots comparable cases brought against scholastic researchers under the China Initiative. Chen was never ever charged with abetting the Chinese federal government nor espionage, and MIT authorities are spending for his legal defense, a rarity amongst the cases.

“All of us who know Gang are deeply relieved,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif stated in a declaration. “We are eager for his full return to our community.” Referring to the toll on his household from the federal government’s prosecution, Reif stated, “It is difficult to reconcile and accept the pain and anguish that such good people, people we are proud and fortunate to know, have endured over the last 2 years.”

The U.S. federal government has a 50-50 record in 2 previous cases that preceded juries. Last month, Harvard University chemist Charles Lieber was condemned of stopping working to reveal his research study ties to China, and in September 2021 a federal judge acquitted Anming Hu, a previous engineering teacher at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, after his earlier trial ended in a hung jury.

Update, 20 January, 1 p.m.: This story has actually been upgraded with the current details from the court procedures.

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