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University of Arkansas Professor Arrested for Concealing Chinese Government Ties in NASA Grant Application

Simon Saw-Teong Ang allegedly concealed Chinese government and business ties in NASA grant applications.

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A University of Arkansas-Fayetteville professor was arrested on Friday after federal authorities determined he concealed alleged ties to the Chinese government in an application for NASA grant funding.

Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 63, is being charged with one count of wire fraud. A criminal complaint released after Ang’s initial court appearance on Monday describes the engineering professor as having close ties to the Chinese government and Chinese companies. Such affiliations would have been required disclosures on applications for NASA grants, and the authorities are claiming Ang concealed them.

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Ang’s academic biography on the University of Arkansas College of Engineering website describes the man as an accomplished professor. The biography says Ang “received numerous teaching awards and supervised over 100 M.S. and Ph.D. students in electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, agricultural engineering, and mechanical engineering.” He’s published more than 300 academic articles and holds four U.S. patents.

The DOJ alleges that Ang’s “materially false representations to NASA and the University of Arkansas resulted in numerous wires to be sent and received that facilitated Ang’s scheme to defraud” in initial court filings.

Federal charges of wire fraud can be punishable by a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Chinese government infiltration of American universities is well documented. The Chinese Communist Party has a track record of collecting sensitive scientific and research information at American universities through networks of international students and faculty. China’s communist authoritarian government is also known for buying influence within major universities, spending billions of dollars in nominal donations to create academic programs that disseminate propaganda and answer to Chinese intelligence.

Big League National Security

President Trump Announces Planned Ban on Chinese-Owned TikTok App

The app has serious spying concerns.

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President Donald Trump announced that he’s preparing to ban the video app TikTok on national security grounds on Friday, citing the concerns over the Chinese app’s connections to Chinese government security, and the potential use of the nominally innocent app to surveil American citizens.

The President had made the announcement on an Air Force One flight to the press pool, later confirming that the media could report on the policy move on the record.

As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” said the President bluntly.

TikTok is a viral video app marketed to teenagers and young adults that allows users to create short and edited videos. It’s frequently used for memes, pranks, and simple political content. It’s owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which is obligated to cooperate with Chinese intelligence services under the laws of China.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously spoken of security concerns involving the Chinese app. Microsoft had recently offered to purchase the app from its parent company, but the surveillance and security surrounding it appear to have shelved such a possibility for now.

There are genuine surveillance and data-mining concerns with TikTok, but it’s also probably worth considering that banning the app will allow neoliberal tech monopolies such as Facebook and Apple to share up an even larger share of the demand for platforms designed for similar content.

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