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Kansas Researcher Busted for Working for the Chinese Government

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A Kansas associate professor hid the work he was doing for the Chinese government while working at the University of Kansas.

According to federal charges filed on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the man also attempted to recruit other researchers and students.

Feng “Franklin” Tao, 47, of Lawrence, Kansas was charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of program fraud for failure to disclose on conflict-of-interest forms of the work he was doing for China while working as a full-time associate professor at the University of Kansas’ Center for Environmental Beneficial Catalysis. Prosecutors said the U.S. Department of Energy funded some of Tao’s research at the University of Kansas.

The 16-page indictment details how China bolstered its meteoric economic growth by offering scholarships or funding to foreign students or visiting professors who were attending or working at American universities. The Chinese government also used “talent plans” with the purpose of encouraging the transfer of original ideas and intellectual property from U.S. universities to Chinese government institutions to boost Chinese “scientific development, economic prosperity, and national security.”

These plans have existed since the early 1990s, but the Chinese government revitalized them in 2007 as part of its strategy to augment economic development, federal prosecutors said. The Communist Party of China presides over all talent plan applicants, and the government administers and finances the program by cooperating with other agencies within the Chinese government.

As of 2016, China has more than 56,000 talent program participants carrying out the Communist Party’s interests abroad. The indictment said the Changjiang Professorship was one program the Chinese government and the Communist Party sponsored.

According to the indictment, Tao allegedly did not disclose to the University of Kansas his involvement in the Changjiang Professorship or the salary he received for his appointment to Fuzhou University in Fuzhou, China.

Under the Changjiang contract, Tao was required to recruit two to three doctor students and three to four master’s students annually to work with him at Fuzhou University, according to the indictment.

Federal prosecutors also noted in the indictment several email exchanges showing Tao’s efforts to recruit students and researchers for employment opportunities in China.

Additionally, the indictment alleges Tao sponsored at least four researchers and students visiting the University of Kansas from China.

One of Tao’s researchers joined his research team back in Fuzhou University.

Federal prosecutors highlighted numerous trips Tao took in 2017 and 2018 to China. Tao also performed “some duties” at Nagoya University in Japan.

Before he was arrested in August 2019, Tao was listed as a member of the Fuzhou University on its website. Right after his arrest, all mention of Tao were wiped off the Fuzhou website. According to prosecutors, Tao never asked the University of Kansas for permission to work at Fuzhou University or Nagoya University.

Tao was an associate professor of engineering at the University of Kansas . He was born in China and moved stateside in 2002. He has been employed since August 2014 at the University of Kansas’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis in Lawrence. The center carries out research on sustainable technology to conserve natural resources and energy.

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Airbnb CEO Says Wuhan Virus Will Fundamentally Transform Domestic Travel

Post-pandemic America will not look the same.

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Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, said to Reuters on January 14, 2021 that domestic travel patterns will not revert to pre-Wuhan virus pandemic standards.

In a Zoom call with Jonathan Weber, the global technology editor for Reuters, Chesky said that business travel will move towards leisure travel due to the fact that software like Zoom facilitates teleconferencing at unprecedented rates. 

Furthermore, Chesky speculates that people won’t be visiting America’s largest cities as much as before, nor will they stay at crowded hotels. Instead, he believes that “many people will travel by car – some will travel by plane – and they’re going to travel to thousands of smaller communities. And many of these communities are going to be smaller cities and or even rural areas.” 

Additionally, the Airbnb CEO notes that “farm stays are huge right now” and that national parks travel will become a major trend among travelers in the upcoming months. The latter will grow, in Chesky’s view, because most Americans have not visited such parks.

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According to an Airbnb survey, 54% of Americans have plans of traveling in 2021 or they’re in the process of planning out their trips for the summer. Chesky asserted that travelers are “yearning for what was taken away from them.” He added, “they’re not yearning to see Times Square. What they are yearning to do is to see their friends and their families they have not seen in a long time.”

Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge raised an interesting point about this change in Americans’ travel patterns:

If Chesky is right about the significant travel shift, the hotel industry could be slated for a massive wave of bankruptcies and or consolidation to a degree never before seen.  

Regardless, Americans are getting tired of the Wuhan virus lockdowns. Millions of Americans have had their freedoms infringed upon thanks to politicians who want to exploit a generalized crisis for their own gain. 

If Republicans were smart, they would be unapologetically campaigning for their states to be reopened. Americans want to go back to their normal lives and engage in activities such as travel, which the political class has deprived them of.

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