However, some critics say this campaign harms academic research. Prosecutors in Boston said Lieber knowingly hid his involvement in China's "Thousand Talents Plan", which aims to attract foreign research specialists. It has been flagged by the US as a security concern in the past. Lieber, a former head of Harvard's department of chemistry and chemical biology, had in 2011 joined China's Wuhan University of Technology as a scientist.
He was given a monthly salary of $50,000 (£37,000), in addition to living expenses of up to $158,000 for this role. The filings say he was also given more than $1.5m to establish a research lab at the university and, in return, was expected to work for the university, applying for patents and publishing articles in its name.