The US has jailed Harvard's Professor of Chemistry, a renowned nano-chemist, for teaching nano-chemistry to Chinese students.
And kept him out of China for two years.
All nice and legal.
They charged him with failing to declare his taxable income from the Chinese university and for lying to the FBI when questioned and fined him $50,000, along with $34,000 restitution to the IRS. [Update: after this article was published a European researcher wrote me urgently, “I’ve done exactly that. I was teaching at the same Chinese university and also didn’t declare what I earned there. Can I safely visit the US?”]
Disgraced and bankrupt, Professor Lieber will serve two days in prison, six months of home confinement, and 18 months of supervised release, ensuring that he can’t teach in China for at least two years. (This goes way back. The US detained a famous Chinese nuclear physicist for years in the '50s, too).
At the time of his arrest in 2020 Prof. Lieber was the peak of his career and favored for a Nobel. He hasn't taught a class since. He is one of the people who gave America the lead in nano-chemistry and he was essentially gunned down just when he was making his greatest contributions.
Why did the US destroy this priceless national asset at the peak of his career?
To send an unmistakable message to the scientific community, “Don't help the Chinese”.
And guess who’s helping the Chinese?
Joseph Stieglitz said that, of all America’s current problems, the quality of its decision-making is the gravest. That nails it, and this exemplifies it.
Lying to the FBI is should be every Americans patriotic duty. Legally the FBI can lie about anything at all to the American people.