FBI Probed Former Ohio State Professor's China Ties

September 9, 2015

Newly unsealed search warrants show that the Federal Bureau of Investigation looked into whether an engineering professor at Ohio State University who resigned suddenly had shared defense secrets with the Chinese, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The newspaper reported that Ohio State launched an internal investigation after Rongxing Li, an expert on Mars mapping efforts, stated on a January 2014 grant proposal to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that he had no relationships with Chinese scientists, despite having recently spent a sabbatical at Tongji University, in Shanghai. Li resigned from Ohio State the following month, having indicated that he was caring for sick parents in China, at which point the university contacted the FBI due to the “unusual circumstances of Li’s departure and the restricted and sensitive nature of some of his research.”

FBI investigators searched Li’s home and stopped and searched Li's wife in March 2014 before she boarded a plane to China, seizing a computer, cell phone and several thumb drives, the latter of which contained restricted defense-related information, according to the warrant. No charges have been filed against Li or his wife.

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