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Chinese Researcher Charged With Destroying Evidence

August 31, 2020

Department of Justice officials announced Friday that they arrested a Chinese national and researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, on charges of destroying evidence to obstruct an ongoing FBI investigation.

Prosecutors said Guan Lei is being investigated for possibly transferring sensitive software or technical data to China’s National University of Defense Technology and for allegedly misrepresenting his association with the Chinese military in his 2018 visa application and in interviews with law enforcement.

Federal prosecutors said Guan was observed throwing a damaged hard drive into a dumpster outside his apartment. Citing an affidavit, the Los Angeles Times reported that Guan discarded the damaged drive days after he was interviewed by investigators and after he was blocked from boarding a flight to China.

Inside Higher Ed was not able to identify a lawyer for Guan through a federal database of court records. Guan's arrest is the latest in a series of arrests involving Chinese researchers suspected of hiding their ties to the Chinese military.

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Elizabeth Redden

Elizabeth Redden, Senior Reporter, covers general higher education topics, religion and higher education, and international higher education for Inside Higher Ed. She has more than a decade of experience as an education journalist. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

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