Portman Statement on Arrest of Former Cleveland Clinic Employee and Chinese “Thousand Talents” Member for Wire Fraud

May 14, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement after Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman of the Northern District of Ohio, and FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith announced that a former Cleveland Clinic employee was arrested yesterday for failing to disclose his affiliation with China’s Thousand Talents Program while receiving American taxpayer-funded grant funding. Senator Portman, as Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), led a year-long investigation into China’s talent recruitment programs like the Thousand Talents Program, culminating in a bipartisan report in November 2019 that detailed how China has recruited U.S.-based scientists and researchers since the late 1990s and incentivized them to transfer U.S. taxpayer-funded research and IP to China for their own military and economic gain. This arrest comes just days after the Department of Justice announced criminal charges against two academics affiliated with American universities for allegedly concealing their participation in China’s talent recruitment programs while accepting American taxpayer-funded grant funding. Portman will soon introduce bipartisan legislation to protect American research and IP from global competitors.

“I’m pleased that our committee investigation and resulting report last year has spurred additional action by federal law enforcement to hold China accountable.  For too long, China has exploited the lack of transparency in our education system to steal our taxpayer-funded research and innovation and the federal government has done little or nothing to stop it.  I commend DOJ, U.S. Attorney Herdman and the FBI for arresting another alleged member of China’s Thousand Talents Program, after additional arrests around the country have been announced over the last week. I will be introducing bipartisan legislation soon to safeguard American innovation, hold countries like China accountable for their actions, and ensure our world-class research enterprise is protected here in America. China’s ongoing theft of America’s research and innovation must stop.”