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Charles Lieber, the former chair of Harvard University's chemistry and chemical biology department. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Harvard University professor Charles Lieber was convicted Tuesday in connection with lying to U.S. federal authorities about his ties to China.

Driving the news: A federal jury in Boston found the 62-year-old former chair of Harvard University's chemistry and chemical biology department guilty of two counts of making false statements to federal authorities about a Chinese government recruitment program, per a Department of Justice statement.

  • He was also found guilty of two counts of making and subscribing a false income tax return and two charges of failing to file reports of a foreign bank in China and financial accounts with the Internal Revenue Service.

Our thought bubble, via Axios China reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: The Lieber verdict comes as the DOJ's China Initiative faces intense scrutiny after a series of charges against ethnic Chinese scientists were dropped.

The big picture: Lieber had pleaded not guilty of all charges related to his affiliation with the Beijing-run Thousand Talents Program and China's Wuhan University of Technology (WUT).

  • "Under the terms of Lieber’s three-year Thousand Talents contract, WUT paid Lieber a salary of up to $50,000 per month, living expenses of up to $150,000 and awarded him more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at WUT," per the DOJ.
  • "In 2018 and 2019, Lieber lied to federal authorities about his involvement in the Thousand Talents Plan and his affiliation with WUT."

What's next: The court has yet to schedule a sentencing date, but Lieber faces up to five years in prison for the making false statements charge, according to the DOJ.

Go deeper

Nov 16, 2021 - World

Olympics sponsors caught between U.S. and China

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Companies that do business in China — especially Olympics sponsors — are concerned Beijing will use the 2022 Winter Games as a loyalty test.

Why it matters: China's leaders have become adept at silencing criticism from U.S. companies that might otherwise condemn the country's human rights record — and the Chinese government has been able to host prestigious global events like the Olympics while committing rights violations with impunity.

1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.