BOSTON (CBS) – Three people tied to universities and a hospital in the Boston area were indicted on charges they lied about their ties to China or tried to help the Chinese government. Among them was Dr. Charles Lieber, the chair of Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

Prosecutors said Lieber had a contract with Wuhan Institute of Technology. He also ran a group that had contracts with the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health.

Federal agents said Lieber lied about his ties to China when he bid on those contracts.

“It appears China paid Lieber hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for his involvement with the Chinese entities and for his work on research for Chinese gain,” said U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling.

Lieber was arrested at his Harvard University office and then placed on administrative leave. He will not be able to participate in his teaching or research roles, the university said.

A Harvard spokesman issued a statement on Lieber’s arrest:

The charges brought by the U.S. government against Professor Lieber are extremely serious. Harvard is cooperating with federal authorities, including the National Institutes of Health, and is initiating its own review of the alleged misconduct.  Professor Lieber has been placed on indefinite administrative leave.

Dr. Charles Lieber. (Image Credit: Harvard University)

The second indictment is a Chinese national who was working as a researcher at Boston University. Lelling said Yanqing Ye is a lieutenant of the Chinese military, but failed to disclose that while applying for a U.S. visa. Ye is currently in China and has not been arrested.

“A border search of her electronic devices showed that Ye had complied information for the People’s Liberation Army about two U.S. residents with expertise in robotics and computer science,” said Lelling.

Boston University said Ye left the school in April 2019 and they are fully cooperating with the investigation.

The third indictment is Chinese national Zaosong Zheng who was sponsored by Harvard and working as a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He was allegedly caught at Logan Airport in December trying to smuggle biological material out of the country.

Beth Israel Deaconess released a statement of its own:

We are deeply proud of the breadth and depth of our research programs. Any efforts to compromise research undermine the hard work of our faculty and staff to advance patient care. We are grateful for the diligence and professionalism of federal law enforcement in this case and are fully cooperating with the government’s ongoing investigation of this matter.

“Boston is an especially attractive target for this kind of exploitation. Universities, research institutions and tech companies in this area must become sensitized to this type of threat,” said Lelling. “This is not an accident or coincidence. This is a small sample of China’s ongoing campaign to siphon off American technology and knowhow for Chinese gain.”

Comments (28)
  1. Glyn Jeansonn says:

    In my opinion,The last TRUE Americans are African-Americans.

    1. Robert Philbrick says:

      Coupla crackers might disagree

      1. Randall H Trantham says:

        I think I hear a tom-tom beating

    2. Mark says:

      Communists all.

    3. Nunya Bidnez says:

      Take your comment and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine!

      an NDN <– or as the rest of you call us Indians, American Indians, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, etc.

      1. Randall H Trantham says:

        I agree, anonymous person, but never any need to be a jerk about it. I immediately saw the omission and can only wonder why they would do that. My address is dead so don’t bother replying if you think it goes to me. All the best.

      2. your ‘people’ immigrated here and killed the actual indigenous people.. as in total genocide. STFU with your utter arrogant ignorant BS.

    4. Lydia says:

      Why thank you Glyn.

  2. Frank DeLorey says:

    Death penalty…

    1. And yet treason behavior gets a slap on the wrist when the gas chamber is the o ly real punishment. We used to hang traitors now we make excuses. Other countries are not so merciful to their own or other traitors but they know the U.S. has gone belly soft with bleeding hearts and they laugh all the way to the bank and more.

    2. Lauren MacArthur says:

      Yes….That’s what traitors deserve….

  3. I think you meant to type Compiled, not complied in this paragraph.

    “A border search of her electronic devices showed that Ye had complied information for the People’s Liberation Army about two U.S. residents with expertise in robotics and computer science,” said Lelling.

  4. Jack Hammer says:

    Every single time

  5. Denise says:

    Let’s not forget the Ethiopian arrested weeks ago with vials of blood samples…#FBI

  6. Dan says:

    Wow, our universities are leftist cesspools. Selling us out to your greatest enemy China.

    1. Andy G says:

      How do you know that these researchers are leftists, and why would you even say such a thing? Spoken like a true uninformed trump supporter

      1. G Robert says:

        How do you know that Dan is a true uninformed trump supporter, and why would you even say such a thing? Spoken like a true leftist!

    2. mastanana says:

      Our greatest enemy is the other party that we hate. if you are right, then democrats are your greatest enemy and vice versa. In a way we have become our own enemy. We don’t need China, we will crumble ourselves in hate and anger.

  7. Cparker says:

    Just curious, I find it odd Wuhan is the same place where the virus broke out. I’m sure it is a coincidence….not trying to start a panic.

  8. GrammyBonnie says:

    Yeah, there seems to be a lot in the news these days regarding things going on in Wuhan. Who knows what is true and what is disinformation…

  9. Upinja says:


  10. Robyn says:

    I am all for the Death Penalty if you are found Guilty of being a Traitor

  11. Gar Swaffar says:

    It is time to reinstate public hangings for treason and spies who are caught in the act.

  12. Miss Debra says:

    Send Lieber to North Korea as a traitor.

  13. b Case says:

    why should anyone get punished for anything when the yam in charge gets away with being a Traitor just about every single day?

    1. Calm down. You’ve only got 5 more years to go.

  14. Dexter-Bernice Luck says:

    Sorry but “bided”?

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