Axios: DOJ charges NASA researcher for hiding relationship with China
Tue September, 2020, Age: 3 years
A DOJ complaint unsealed last Monday alleges that Zhengdong Cheng, 53, participated in China’s Thousand Talents Plan, which seeks to recruit “high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security.” He received a grant from NASA based on alleged false claims and personally benefited from his affiliation with Texas A&M and NASA, according to the DOJ’s complaint. He had increased access to NASA’s resources, like the International Space Station. “This access allegedly allowed Cheng to further his standing in China at Guangdong University of Technology and other universities.” Cheng is charged with a count of wire fraud, making a false statement to authorities and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. This is the latest high-profile case in the DOJ’s efforts to uncover undisclosed ties between U.S.-based researchers and Chinese institutions.