Justice Dept. charges University of Tennessee professor with hiding ties to China

A professor at the University of Tennessee has been arrested on charges that he hid his relationship with a Chinese university at the same time he received research grants from the federal government, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Anming Hu, an associate professor in the department of mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering at the university’s flagship Knoxville campus, was charged with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements.

The arrest is part of a broader Justice Department crackdown against university researchers who conceal their ties to Chinese institutions, with a Harvard chemistry professor recently arrested on similar charges. Federal officials have also asserted that Beijing is intent on stealing intellectual property from America’s colleges and universities.

Prosecutors say Hu defrauded the National Aeronautics and Space Administration by failing to disclose the fact that he was also a professor at the Beijing University of Technology in China. Under federal law, NASA cannot fund or give grant money to Chinese-owned companies or universities.