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Lieber Found Guilty

Harvard University professor Charles Lieber has been found guilty of failing to disclose payments he received from the Chinese government, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Lieber, who works on nanoscale electronics, was charged in January 2020 with making false claims about funds he received through China's Thousand Talents Program to federal investigators as well as about his role at the Wuhan University of Technology. Science notes that it is not illegal for US researchers to receive foreign support, but it must be disclosed, which prosecutors said Lieber failed to do so to funders and tax officials.

His arrest came as the US cracked down through its China Initiative on economic espionage or intellectual property theft, but critics have characterized the effort — which has largely focused on Chinese and Chinese-American researchers — as racist. Science further reported earlier this month that most of the researchers ensnared by the program have not been charged with espionage or intellectual property theft.

The Journal reports that Lieber's defense team argued that his "conduct was sloppy but not criminal." Lieber faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to Science.