By Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Federal prosecutors have recommended dropping charges against a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor accused last year of concealing work he did for the Chinese government while raising US dollars for his nanotechnology research, a person familiar with the decision said Friday. .
The decision in Jang Chen’s case is expected to be finalized by the Justice Department in the coming weeks, according to the person, who was not authorized to discuss the ongoing case and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The move comes as the Justice Department is conducting an internal review of its investigations and trials of university professors in the United States accused of concealing their ties to China. These investigations are part of the China Initiative, an effort launched by the Department of Justice to crack down on Chinese digital espionage and trade secret theft. The review is expected to take place soon.
At the time of his arrest in January 2021, prosecutors accused Chen of entering into undisclosed contracts while working for MIT and making appointments with Chinese entities, including acting as an “outside expert” for the Chinese government at the request of the People’s Republic of China Consulate. office in New York.
Prosecutors alleged that Chen failed to disclose his links to China, as required by federal grant applications.
But federal prosecutors in Boston moved to drop the case after new information emerged, including an interview with a high-ranking Department of Energy official, according to the person familiar with the case. The decision was announced earlier Friday by the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
Although a Harvard professor was indicted last month for concealing his links to a China-run recruitment program, other high-profile cases have faltered. A federal judge in September dropped all charges against a University of Tennessee professor accused of concealing his connection to a Chinese university while receiving research grants from NASA, and the university has since offered to reinstate him.
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