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Prosecutors Recommend Dropping Charges Against MIT Professor

January 18, 2022

Federal prosecutors have recommended that the government drop charges against a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor accused of hiding ties to Chinese entities on a 2017 grant application to the U.S. Department of Energy, The Wall Street Journal reported. The recommendation to drop the charges against the MIT professor, Gang Chen, is based in part on new information from a Department of Energy official, who told prosecutors in recent weeks that the agency did not believe Chen had an obligation to disclose his China-related posts at the time and didn’t believe the department would have withheld grant funding had he disclosed them.

Chen is part of a group of academics who have been accused of hiding their Chinese affiliations on grant applications and charged under the auspices of the Department of Justice’s controversial China Initiative, which was established by the Trump administration with the ostensible aim of combating economic espionage. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in October the new assistant attorney general for the department’s National Security Division would “review all the activities in the department,” which encompasses the China Initiative.

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