Professor Arrested for Allegedly Hiding China Ties

July 13, 2020

An Ohio State University professor faces accusations of grant fraud for allegedly failing to disclose Chinese grant funding to the National Institutes of Health, from which he received more than $4 million in grants.

A criminal complaint unsealed Thursday alleges that Song Guo Zheng, a professor of rheumatology and immunology, also did not disclose his apparent employment by a Chinese university at the same time he was employed by Ohio State. Zheng allegedly participated in a Chinese talent recruitment program.

“Yet again, we are faced with a professor at a U.S. university, who is a member of a Chinese Talent Plan, allegedly and deliberately failing to disclose his relationship with a Chinese university and receipt of funds from the Chinese Government in order to obtain millions of dollars in U.S. grant money designed to benefit the health and well-being of the people of the United States -- not to be hijacked to supplement the research goals of the Chinese Communist Party,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a press release.

The arrest is the latest in a number tied to a NIH investigation into disclosure of foreign funding. The criminal complaint alleges that Zheng attempted to depart the U.S. shortly after Ohio State confronted him with a NIH letter identifying possible failure to identify outside research support or foreign affiliations.

Zheng was arrested May 22 and is being held without bond. Prosecutors say the case against him will be presented to a federal grand jury for possible indictment. The attorneys of record for Zheng did not respond to messages seeking comment.

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