06:10 GMT08 August 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A professor at a US university has been charged for allegedly using US grant funds to develop China's expertise in the areas of rheumatology and immunology, the Justice Department said in a press release.

    "A rheumatology professor and researcher with strong ties to China has been ordered held without bond to face a charge of grant fraud for not disclosing that he was engaged in a sophisticated scheme to use approximately $4.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to develop China’s expertise in the areas of rheumatology and immunology", the release said on Thursday.

    The release said US authorities arrested the 57-year-old Song Guo Zheng on 22 May after he arrived in Anchorage, Alaska, to board a charter flight to China.

    According to the release, Zheng had allegedly used research conducted in the United States to benefit the Chinese government since 2013 and he failed to disclose his strong ties to Beijing to his US employers or to China's National Institutes of Health.

    He faces one count of fraud or bribery over programs receiving federal funds and one count of making false statements about maintaining employment in China while working at universities in the United States, the release added. Zheng could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, the release said, adding that the investigation into the matter is ongoing.

    The professor also participated in China’s Thousand Talents Program, which provided $3 million in grants and other perks such as an apartment in China. The Chinese government program aims at recruiting individuals with access to foreign technology and intellectual property, the release read.

    charge, university, professor, China, United States
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