Trump admin keeps pressure on China in final days; MIT prof arrested for shady ties, exports restricted

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Members of President Donald Trump’s administration appear to be using their final days in office to thwart the Chinese Communist Party’s stateside efforts.

This week alone the administration arrested a Chinese MIT professor for financial fraud, arrested a Chinese Nevada resident for immigration fraud, banned direct exports to a state-owned Chinese oil company, imposed new export controls and banned imports of cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang.

On Thursday, the Trump Department of Justice arrested an MIT professor, Gang Chen, for collecting federal grants without having disclosed the work he’s done for the People’s Republic of China.

Described as a naturalized U.S. citizen, Chen had allegedly been working to promote the “technological and scientific development” of the People’s Republic of China “by providing advice and expertise – sometimes directly to PRC government officials – and often in exchange for financial compensation.”

He’d done this while simultaneously working as the “Director of the MIT Pappalardo Micro/Nano Engineering Laboratory and Director of the Solid-State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion Center (S3TEC),” where he’d received over $19 million in federal grants.

According to a press release by the DOJ, Chen had failed to disclose his work for China when applying for these grants.

“From at least 2017 to 2019 when Chen was serving in several advisory roles for the PRC and PRC entities, Chen applied for and obtained a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant in order to fund a portion of his research at MIT. In doing so, it is alleged that Chen failed to disclose information about his ongoing affiliations with the PRC as required by DOE,” the department announced.

“Chen also allegedly failed to disclose to the IRS in his 2018 tax return that he maintained a bank account in the PRC with more than $10,000 in 2018.”

The charges he now faces are wire fraud, making false statements and failing to file a foreign bank account report (FBAR). These are punishable by up to 20 years, five years and five years of prison, respectively.

Also on Thursday, the Trump administration’s Commerce Department banned exports to the China National Overseas Oil Corporation and imposed new export controls.

“Commerce specifically cited the role of the China National Overseas Oil Corporation in building artificial islands in the South China Sea, a yearslong effort meant to bolster Beijing’s territorial claims, as its reason for placing the company on its so-called entity list. U.S. companies will now have to apply for special permits to export goods to the state-owned company, known as CNOOC,” Politico reported.

“In a separate action, the Commerce Department also announced it was imposing new export controls on any U.S. technologies and individuals who may be supporting foreign military-intelligence uses and users in China, Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela, as well as in terrorist-supporting countries.”

Earlier in the week on Wednesday, the Trump administration banned cotton and tomato imports from Xinjiang, the region of China suspected to contain labor camps for Uighur Muslims.

“The move is the administration’s latest effort to punish China over what Western officials and human rights groups call the country’s campaign of repression against the Muslim Uighur population of Xinjiang, which has included the population’s mass detention in camps,” The Washington Post reported.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday it would immediately start detaining cotton and tomato products produced in the region, ‘based on information that reasonably indicates the use of detainee or prison labor and situations of forced labor.'”

Naturally, CNN’s Trump-obsessed readers were appalled by the move:

Also on Wednesday, the DOJ arrested a Nevada woman, Haiyan Liao, for the crime of essentially smuggling illegal aliens from China into the United States.

“According to the indictment, Liao, with others, fraudulently obtained visitor visas by submitting applications containing false statements to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China as part of a scheme to assist aliens from China to enter the U.S.,” the agency announced.

“For the aliens whose applications were approved, Liao would facilitate the aliens’ travel to the U.S., including accompanying them on commercial flights to Queens and Brooklyn, New York. The aliens and their families paid thousands of dollars in exchange for the visitor visas and travel to the U.S.”

Her co-defendant, Ned Michael Moriearty, was described as “recently deceased.”

These moves come only days after former California Sen. Barbara Boxer was outed for working as a “foreign agent” for a Chinese surveillance firm that’s allegedly linked to the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution, internment, and alleged genocide of Uighur Muslims.

Boxer is a Democrat, of course.

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Vivek Saxena

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