Anming Hu – Chinese Spy Caught At University Of Tennessee

| Last modified on March 22nd, 2020 at 9:00 pm,

In yet another case of espionage, Anming Hu, a Chinese spy has been caught at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). Anming Hu, 51, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering at UTK, is charged with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements.

Amning-Hu-Chinese-Spy-caught-at-University-of-Tennessee
Anming Hu – Chinese Spy Caught At University Of Tennessee

Anming Hu – Chinese Spy Caught At University Of Tennessee

Beginning in 2016, Hu engaged in a scheme to defraud the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) by concealing his affiliation with Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) in China. Federal law prohibits NASA from using federally appropriated funds on projects in collaboration with China or Chinese universities. As alleged in the indictment, Hu’s false representations and omissions to UTK about his affiliation with BJUT caused UTK to falsely certify to NASA that UTK was in compliance with federal law.

“Hu allegedly committed fraud by hiding his relationship with a Chinese university while receiving funding from NASA,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.  “This is just the latest case involving professors or researchers concealing their affiliations with China from their American employers and the U.S. government.  We will not tolerate it.” 

“The FBI and its federal government, private-sector, and academic partners will continue to investigate and collaborate to counter these efforts at concealment, wherever they occur,” said FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Joseph E. Carrico.

If convicted, Hu faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each of the wire fraud counts, and up to five years in prison on each of the false statement counts.

Chinese Biowarfare Agents At Harvard University Caught Smuggling Viruses

The Tennessee case follows another espionage case last month where Chinese Biowarfare agents at Harvard University were caught smuggling viruses. The Chair of Harvard University’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department and two Chinese nationals were charged in connection with aiding the People’s Republic of China.

Dr. Charles Lieber, 60, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with one count of making a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement.

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Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, announces charges against a Harvard University professor accused of lying about his ties to China. (WJAR/Pool)
Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, announces charges against a Harvard University professor accused of lying about his ties to China. (WJAR/Pool)

Yanqing Ye, 29, a Chinese national, was charged in an indictment with one count each of visa fraud, making false statements, acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy. Ye is currently in China.

Zaosong Zheng, 30, a Chinese national, was arrested on Dec. 10, 2019, at Boston’s Logan International Airport and charged by criminal complaint with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research to China. On Jan. 21, 2020, Zheng was indicted on one count of smuggling goods from the United States and one count of making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements.  He has been detained since Dec. 30, 2019.

Curious case of Chinese Biological Espionage at the Canadian lab

Similar case of Chinese Biological Espionage was busted at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory prompting a full-fledged investigation along with the dismissal of Chinese agents. Subsequent investigation by GreatGameIndia linked the agents to China’s Biological Warfare Program from where the virus is suspected to have leaked causing the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak.

Curiously unlike the American investigation, Canadian authorities have been tight-lipped about the whole incident with details about the case still not fully revealed.

Scholars or Spies

China’s drives to recruit scholars and technology experts are a primary channel for harvesting foreign technologies and intellectual property, stated a June 2018 White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy document.

At an April 2018 hearing titled “Scholars or Spies”, organized by two subcommittees of the US House of Representatives, the commissioner of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Michael Wessel, advised Congress to cut federal grants, loans or other assistance to participants of the Thousand Talents Plan. China has put “sleeper agents at our research universities to steal our scientific breakthroughs,” said Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, at the hearing.

For latest updates on the outbreak check out our Coronavirus Coverage.

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