Harvard Chemistry Chair & Two Chinese Nationals Arrested For Lying About China Ties, Smuggling "Biological Material"

Posted by freedomforall 3 weeks, 1 day ago to Government
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Lieber was reportedly paid $50,000 a month by Wuhan University of Technology for participating in its "Thousand Talents" program, and was given more than $1.5 million to establish a lab and do research at Wuhan University of Technology, according to federal prosecutors in Boston, according to WSJ.

According to prosecutors, Lieber deliberately lied to defense department officials about his "foreign research collaborations."
SOURCE URL: https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/harvard-chemistry-chair-2-chinese-nationals-arrested-lying-about-china-ties-smuggling

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  • Posted by $ exceller 3 weeks, 1 day ago

    “a federal court unsealed indictments against Harvard professor and Chemistry Department Head Charles Lieber, along with two Chinese nationals.”

    “In conjunction with the program, Mr. Lieber became a “strategic scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology, according to the complaint. For “significant periods” from 2012 to 2017, his contract called for a $50,000 a month salary on top of $150,000 in living expenses paid by WUT, it said. He was also awarded more than $1.5 million by WUT and the Chinese government to set up a research lab, it said.”

    “The Trump Administration has made cracking down on Chinese academic and corporate espionage a priority, and has made several arrests of Chinese nationals working in critical roles funneling info back to China. But this is probably the most high-profile case to date, since one of the suspects is a pioneering American scientist.

    Interestingly enough, not long after news of the arrests hit the press, another report surfaced claiming China had rejected President Trump's offer of assistance to contain the coronavirus - even as Wuhan is in desperate need of supplies.

    Is that just a coincidence?”

    Well, this may shed a light on the coronavirus epidemic origins.
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    • Posted by $ jbrenner 3 weeks, 1 day ago
      Oh, my goodness! I want to know more details about this. The salary and living expenses that Prof. Charles Lieber of Harvard was getting at Wuhan are probably less, not more, than he is worth. He invented the process for making nanowires contact each other in a controllable manner. That would be today's equivalent to Rearden Metal. I refer to Professor Lieber multiple times in my nanotechnology class.

      Some of you may remember Borg technology from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Lieber has pioneered the biological/electronic interface.

      I MUST read the corporate espionage story. It appears that the Chinese are actually paying for this technology instead of stealing it.

      Lieber's technological contributions put him in the John Galt category. I haven't met Lieber, but he is unquestionably one of the top ten people in nanotech in the world.
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  • Posted by Kittyhawk 2 weeks, 4 days ago
    What exactly is the basis for the government criminalizing Lieber's actions? It seems to me it must rest on a claim that the US government owns Lieber's mind and work, or at least has enough of a stake in it to be able to punish him for engaging in a value-for-value trade that the government (in hindsight) disapproves of. Does this seem strange to anyone else?
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    • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 weeks ago
      By taking money from the American State Science Institute, Lieber agreed to certain term like "The items that I generate will not be given or sold to the Chinese (or any other) State Science Institute". This is the trap that professors like me are tempted by. I know that Ayn Rand said that we should not make sacrifices, but I have been forced to choose either advancing my career by going to the U.S. State Science Institute, working with industry (which has largely relinquished its role in R&D to the State Science Institute), or fund my own research (which I am doing, but without money to pay my students). I get value from their training in terms of slowly advancing my R&D in exchange for their getting valuable experience. It is not easy being like Quentin Daniels from Atlas Shrugged.
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      • Posted by Kittyhawk 2 weeks ago
        Thanks for the information regarding Lieber, and what he may have agreed to do in exchange for government funding. I have the utmost respect for the course you've chosen.
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        • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 weeks ago
          Thank you. It has not been an easy choice, and had I not made money on my previous two small businesses, my path would not have been possible. Ironically, several partners and I read Atlas Shrugged when we were deciding whether or not to sell our business as then candidate Obama was "virtue signaling" that he would subsidize our solar energy competition to our non-subsidized biomass-to-chemicals company. We had already determined that solar energy was never going to be financially competitive, even if the manufacturing was done in China, and that biomass waste-to-fuel was a breakeven business. We made a nice profit for a couple of years on waste-to-chemicals before selling the company. It was sad, but was financially the right thing to do.

          Lieber, like many in academia, has chosen Dr. Stadler's path. For a while, I was going down that path, too, before I became a faculty member in 1998.
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  • Posted by Eyecu2 2 weeks, 5 days ago
    This reminds me of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and makes me think that we might should revisit this today.

    In 2007 when I applied to the MIS PhD program at UGA I was informed that they had only accepted students from China in the last 4 years because they had the highest GMAT scores. One week after I received my rejection letter it came out that the GMAT was compromised in China and had been for many years.

    We have to understand that China is an enemy country and stop allowing this to happen.
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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 3 weeks, 1 day ago
    China's Thousand Talents Program:

    A list of the awardees is on Wikipedia. Like the now troubled Charles Lieber, T.W. Fraser Stoddart is certainly in the 20 people in nanotechnology. Mario Lanza, Hao Bai and Qi-qiang Wang are other nanochemists on the list that I recognize. Though I didn't recognize him, Tim Byrnes is also in nanotechnology. It looks like the Thousand Talents Program faculty selection is in a very narrow field - MINE!

    Welcome to the State Science Institute, Dr. Stadler!
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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 3 weeks, 1 day ago
    Each week I get a copy of Chemical and Engineering News. Their story of this hasn't been shipped to me yet, but I can't see how it will not be the lead story. It is published on their web site listed below. As an American Chemical Society member, I get "free" access to three articles per month in exchange for my dues. I am not sure if you will get access to this article without paying for it.

    You don't get to be a department head at Harvard without producing a major achievement in your field. He certainly has, but did he have the right ethics? Or was he seduced to the "Dark Side"?

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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 3 weeks, 1 day ago
    Charles Lieber's research:
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    • Posted by $ jbrenner 3 weeks ago
      The Charles Lieber case and the coronavirus situations may be linked:

      Now that I did a little more investigating, I remember seeing this story from many years ago:


      “We want to find a single virus before it finds you,” says Charles Lieber, Hyman Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University. Tests recently completed in his laboratory show that these unimaginably thin nanowires can sense and distinguish between viruses that cause flu, measles, and eye infections. Lieber believes future versions will be able to spot HIV, Ebola, SARS, West Nile, hepatitis, bird flu, and other dangerous viruses.

      “Viruses are among the most important causes of human disease and are of increasing concern as agents for bioterrorism,” Lieber says. “Our work shows that nanoscale silicon wires can be configured as detectors that turn on or off in the presence of a single virus particle. Such detectors could be fashioned into arrays capable of sensing thousands of different viruses, ushering in a new era for diagnoses, biosafety, and quick response to viral outbreaks.” ....

      "Surfaces of the nanowires, through which a minute current flows, hold specks of protein (antibodies) to which specific viruses bind. These antibodies, produced naturally by the immune system, can be attached to the surface of the nanowires, and they will, in turn, bind viruses. Such binding causes a change in current, which signals the presence of a virus or viruses, like a burglar alarm detecting intruders. ....

      "Lieber’s team now plans to work on a larger detector, one that could sense up to 100 different viruses simultaneously. Such an array will make it more likely that the federal government and/or private companies will act to move this exciting new technology from a Harvard basement laboratory to a factory floor."
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    • Posted by Lucky 3 weeks, 1 day ago
      jbrenner thanks for that info, it changes the perspective.

      Looking at the caliber of the person it may be a value-for both-sides trade.
      (Compare with persons with no attributes except pull being on the board of Ukrainian energy companies).
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      • Posted by $ jbrenner 3 weeks, 1 day ago
        The "biological material" that was "stolen" might have been his own samples for testing the bioelectronic interface. That is speculation on my part, but it would probably have the highest value to Prof. Lieber. American universities (including mine) have been sending faculty over to China on temporary assignment for decades to tap into the Chinese talent pool/market. The article in ZeroHedge and the Trump administration investigation are news events for sure, but I don't think we have anywhere near the full story. It may indeed be a value-for-value exchange. It could also be an example of the Stadlerization of invention. Finally, it could be a value-for-value exchange between Lieber and China.

        As in the Trump impeachment, it is important to remember that in America we have the "innocent until proven guilty" standard.

        As described in 2016 in

        "The principle of “innocent until proven guilty” has been implemented across the Chinese judicial system, the Supreme People’s Court’s top official added, reported the China Daily."

        That being said, it is quite surprising that only 1 in a 1000 defendants are found not guilty.
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        • Posted by 3 weeks, 1 day ago
          Well said, JB. Thanks for the insight.
          Critical reading of every "news" story with corroboration of the details is vital, as is analysis of the motives of the participants and publishers.
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          • Posted by $ jbrenner 3 weeks ago
            Lieber is a big enough player in the chemistry community that I will likely hear more about this and keep Gulchers informed.

            If I were starting Galt's Gulch, and I determined Lieber to be of appropriate character, his production level would have merited that he be invited to the Gulch.

            Lieber is, like many faculty, someone who hires Chinese graduate students and postdocs. I haven't, but that isn't because I would not have done so on principle (One of my grad students was Taiwanese, but that's not the same.). A common view among faculty members is that, if we educate international students ourselves, then they will bring our values back with them to their home countries (if they go back) along with the technology they learned. I certainly share that view.

            China is officially Communist, but in some ways according to many people that I have talked to, they are more enterprising than we are.

            What this situation illustrates is one of Ayn Rand's most fundamental points. One cannot practice science and engineering without the proper philosophical basis in place. +1 for Ayn Rand ... again.
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            • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 weeks ago
              The paper version of the Chemical & Engineering News article said very little more than what I linked to a few days ago about Charles Lieber, the nanochemist from Harvard turned Chinese.
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