China goes to a familiar playbook to solve its economic woes

Foreign markets helped fuel the country’s rapid growth for four decades. But now China is back to doing business with a local customer: itself. Once again, Beijing is investing heavily in the country’s own infrastructure, employing millions of people not just to build new roads, railway lines and sewage systems but also to make the equipment necessary for those projects.

“This year is a very bad year for overseas contracts, and I cannot travel,” said Vincent Cao, the drilling and tunnelling equipment manager at the company, better known by its initials, XCMG. Despite those limitations, business is booming, he said, adding, “It is a good year for China.”


On its face, China’s strategy appears to be working. Big investments helped make China the first major economy to see its economy rebound after an outbreak, with output rising 3.2 per cent from April through June compared to the same period last year. China’s economy is reviving even as Europe’s downturn now appears significantly deeper than originally expected and the US economy struggles.

Previous investment campaigns have given China some of the best infrastructure in the world, including the fastest train and longest sea bridge. But the latest push comes with its own set of risks and puts China at odds with how much of the rest of the world is handling the downturn.

Practically all of China’s infrastructure projects are being funded with more debt. Economists warn that paying interest on all that debt may be a drag on future growth.

Additionally, some Chinese economists said, the country does not need more record-breaking megaprojects but would instead benefit from modest programs, like building better sewer lines close to people’s homes. While these less-glamorous infrastructure projects improve the quality of people’s lives, they offer little glory or political reward for the local officials who oversee them.

China’s captains of industry have prospered by building the country’s premier projects, not by improving neighbourhood sewer lines. Wang Min, XCMG’s longtime chair, said that he wanted to make big machines for large projects, a space in which few other Chinese businesses can compete.

When told of a sewage line being replaced in Xuzhou using construction equipment of modest size, Wang was unenthusiastic. “All enterprises can manufacture this kind of excavator, so we don’t have any kind of competitive strength,” he said. “But in terms of the large-scale excavators, XCMG has an advantage.”

Long before building some of the world’s largest cranes and bulldozers, XCMG got its start manufacturing land mines for the People’s Liberation Army during World War II. In the 1950s, it briefly produced ploughs until it switched to making construction machinery.

The company, which is owned by the Xuzhou municipal government, is still inextricably entwined with the state and military, though it no longer produces weapons. XCMG has been an integral part of China’s development strategy, and as the country has prospered, so too has the company.

During China’s last infrastructure binge, intended to bail the country out of the global financial crisis, XCMG’s sales soared eightfold from 2008 to 2010. When Xi Jinping, the country’s top leader, rolled out his Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 that offered enormous loans to developing countries to buy Chinese-made goods, XCMG was there, cashing in on exports to countries like Venezuela and Nigeria.

Now the company is shifting gears again. Many developing countries are struggling to repay their debts to state-owned Chinese banks and are unable to buy bulldozers and other gear. China has almost completely closed its borders, adding another wrinkle of difficulty for XCMG managers trying to close deals in distant markets.

But China is also looking inward. Xi has set poverty alleviation as the country’s top economic goal this year. Many of China’s poorest areas are remote villages, and extending road and rail lines to them requires extensive bridge and tunnel construction. That means putting lots of people and lots of XCMG equipment to work.

Premier Li Keqiang, China’s second most powerful leader, called in May for much of the country’s new construction spending to take place close to where people live. That would make it easier for millions of rural workers who have lost their jobs at factories producing goods for export to find new work without migrating to distant cities.

The scope of China’s latest building boom is enormous, and XCMG is playing a pivotal role. Thirty-seven Chinese cities are in the process of building a total of 150 new subway lines, and the company is manufacturing the needed equipment for half of them.


The country’s high-speed rail system, which already connects more than 700 towns and cities, is expanding so fast that it annually buys three times as many pile drivers as the European and U.S. markets combined. XCMG, the world’s biggest producer of pile drivers, has supplied most of them.

But China’s plan to build its way out of its pandemic downturn contrasts with the policies of most Western governments. Western economists generally recommend transferring money directly to consumers rather than constructing ever more railroads and highways.

“It would be more efficient to give them the money than spending two-thirds of it on steel and petroleum and whatever,” said Michael Pettis, a professor of finance at Peking University in Beijing.

The New York Times

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Recycling plant set to boost waste industry after China blow

Australia’s waste industry was plunged into crisis almost three years ago when China announced it would prohibit the import of recyclable plastic and paper with contamination levels above 0.5 per cent. In response to the Chinese crackdown Australian will ban the export of PET plastic from July 2022.

Asahi Beverages Group chief executive Robert Iervasi said consumers increasingly wanted to know where the plastic used to make drink bottles was sourced and what would happen to it once the drink had been finished.

From the collection of the waste to using the bottles, all the way to the supermarkets…the entire value chain is all covered.

Sanjay Dayal, Pact Group CEO

“We’ve certainly seen a big shift over the past few years, where consumers are bringing concepts of sustainability as part of their decision making as to what products they want to consume,” he said.

“So for us to be able to participate and add to the Australian economy, with more recycled PET, being able to use that in our manufacturing footprint, really allows us to deliver on a consumer need.”

Both Asahi, which has a non-alcoholic drinks plant on a property next door to where the recycling plant will be built, and the $720 million ASX-listed packaging giant Pact, will buy recycled plastic from the new plant to be turned into packaging.

Pact chief executive Sanjay Dayal said the plant would be the biggest of its type in the country and would transform the industry.

“The real special part of this facility is not only the size but the fact it’s end to end. From the collection of the waste to using the bottles, all the way to the supermarkets…the entire value chain is all covered,” he said.

Cleanaway, the $4.5 billion ASX-listed waste management player, will provide the plastic to be recycled via its collection and sorting network.

Cleanaway CEO Vik Bansal said the facility was strategically located on the border of Australia’s two most populous states.

“I’m hopeful that in a couple of years’ time the three of us, Sanjay, me and Robert are sitting down and talking about doubling its capacity,” Mr Bansal said of the new plant.

The $45 million project will receive almost $5 million in support from the Environmental Trust under the NSW state government’s ‘Waste Less, Recycle More’ initiative.

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President Trump suggests China will repay U.S. for economic impact of COVID-19

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, July 31, 2020, in Washington. Trump is en route to Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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UPDATED 3:25 PM PT — Friday, July 31, 2020

According to President Trump, Democrats are to blame for stalled negotiations over a new round of stimulus. The legislation has been in the works for months, but Democrat and Republican lawmakers keep butting heads over major aspects of the package.

While speaking at a roundtable with police, the president also suggested China may be held financially accountable for the toll the virus has taken on the U.S. economy.

“I want our people to be able to live and live well. It wasn’t their fault that China brought in this pandemic, this plague. It’s China’s fault, if you want to know the truth. China should be paying for it, and maybe they will.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States

The administration has stated it’s receptive to striking a deal on a potential stimulus bill, even if it does not include the liability shield for businesses that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. uses a folder as a prop as she speaks about mail in voting during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has also blamed Democrats for delaying progress on the latest coronavirus relief legislation. During Friday’s White House press briefing, he gave an update on the next stimulus package.

Most recently, Sen. McConnell pushed for a one week extension for enhanced unemployment benefits, but Democrats on the hill rejected this proposal.

“So there’s no clearer message that the American people should receive other than the fact that the Democrats are willing to play politics at a critical time in our nation’s very dire circumstances as we deal with this pandemic,” said Meadows.

He pointed out Democrats also rejected proposals put forward by the Trump administration without offering their own suggestions.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks during a press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Friday, July 31, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Extended unemployment benefits are set to expire on Friday night.

House lawmakers will not go on summer recess in August as planned. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer confirmed the lower chamber will meet next month and remain in session until an economic stimulus package is passed.

RELATED: GOP, Democrats ‘Very Far Apart’ On COVID-19 Relief Package

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‘Our resistance will continue’: Pro-democracy activists vow to fight China crackdown

Hong Kong’s democracy camp will carry on to fight China’s crackdown on political freedoms, activists vowed after a devastating thirty day period of election disqualifications, arrests for social media posts and protest figures fleeing overseas.

Democracy advocates have arrive under sustained attack considering the fact that Beijing imposed a sweeping national stability regulation on Hong Kong last thirty day period – a transfer China’s leaders described as a “sword” hanging above the head of its critics.

The ensuing months have radically remodeled a town applied to speaking its brain and supposedly certain particular freedoms and autonomy in a “One Place, Two Systems” deal agreed ahead of its 1997 handover from Britain.

In some of the most significant developments given that the law was enacted, a dozen democracy activists on Thursday were being barred from legislative elections which have considering the fact that been delayed from September.

“Our resistance will keep on on and we hope the planet can stand with us in the future uphill struggle,” Joshua Wong, just one of the city’s most recognisable democracy figures, instructed reporters Friday.

Democracy activist Joshua Wong holds a push meeting in Hong Kong on 31 July


Mr Wong was a person of people disqualified alongside other younger firebrand activists and some older, more moderate democracy campaigners.

“Outside of any question (this) is the most scandalous election fraud era in Hong Kong history,” said the 23-year-old, dressed in a T-shirt that reported “They are unable to kill us all”.

Hong Kong is not a democracy – its chief is selected by pro-Beijing committees.

But half of its legislature’s 70 seats are immediately elected, supplying the city’s 7.5 million residents a uncommon probability to have their voices read at the ballot box.

Polls delayed

Organizing to capitalise on very last year’s substantial and generally violent anti-Beijing protests, democracy activists experienced been hoping to earn their first-ever the vast majority in September.

But authorities have started scrubbing ballot lists of candidates considered to hold unacceptable political views.

Hong Kong’s leader has also introduced the community elections will be postponed due to the fact coronavirus situations have surged in the international finance hub.

“Today I announce the most complicated selection in the last 7 months… to postpone the Legislative Council election,” main govt Carrie Lam explained to reporters on Friday.

A coalition of democracy get-togethers beforehand warned that a postponement would be “the finish collapse of our constitutional program”, and called on authorities to ensure elections go in advance with social-distancing measures in position.

Close to fifty percent of Hong Kong’s 3,100 COVID-19 situations have been detected in the previous thirty day period and authorities dread hospitals are on the verge of currently being confused.

In accordance to the Intercontinental Institute for Democracy and Electoral Support, at least 68 elections globally have been postponed because of the virus, when 49 went forward.

In their statement, the pro-democracy coalition accused their opponents of employing the pandemic to avoid a drubbing at the polls.

A law to conclusion unrest

Hong Kong is likely by means of its most politically turbulent period since its return to Chinese rule, and last calendar year seven straight months of pro-democracy protests swept the town.

The pandemic and mass arrests have assisted throttle the movement, but anger to Beijing continue to seethes.

In response, China imposed its security legislation on 30 June, bypassing the legislature and holding the contents of the legislation solution right until it was enacted.

Beijing mentioned the regulation would restore steadiness and not impression political freedoms.

Police officers detain a protester during a rally against a new national security law on July 1 in Hong Kong.

Law enforcement officers detain a protester all through a rally against a new countrywide stability legislation on July 1 in Hong Kong.


It targets 4 forms of crime: subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces – with up to lifestyle in jail.

But the broadly worded law instantly outlawed specific political sights such as selling independence or larger autonomy for Hong Kong.

A person provision bans “inciting hatred” to the authorities.

Critics, including a lot of Western nations, say it has demolished the “Just one Place, Two Units” model.

Given that it came into drive, some political get-togethers have disbanded though at minimum 3 prominent Beijing critics have fled abroad.

Libraries and universities have pulled books considered to be in breach of the new legislation.

At least 15 arrests have been made so significantly.

On Wednesday four learners have been arrested under the new law for “inciting secession” as a result of posts on social media. Others have been arrested for possessing or shouting independence and other protest slogans.

A man who allegedly drove his motorcycle into a team of police officers although traveling an independence flag was the very first to be charged beneath the law, with terrorism and secession offences.

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What the heck is ‘brushing’? The scam behind the China mystery seeds

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Thousands of Americans are receiving seeds in the mail wrapped in packages with Chinese characters. The mystery seeds, which the recipients did not order, have triggered warnings from agricultural authorities who say “do not plant them.”

The USDA and FBI are still investigating the packages—which reportedly include seeds for grass, cucumbers, and melon—but the growing consensus among law enforcement is that they are part of a “brushing” scam.

The term “brushing” was unfamiliar to most Americans until news about the seed mystery. Here’s what it means and how the scam works.

What is brushing?

Brushing is a shady way to boost the popularity of an online merchant by sending out unsolicited packages containing items of little value. The merchant—or more commonly a “brusher” middleman who they pay—writes positive reviews using the names of the recipients.

The goal is to appear higher in the search rankings of online platforms like Amazon. The algorithms of those platforms favor merchants with lots of sales and positive reviews from verified purchasers. Since the name on the review belongs to someone who did receive the product, it’s considered a verified purchase. Brushing can make it appear that hundreds or thousands of people have received and praised the merchant’s product.

When did brushing start?

One of the first uses of “brushing” in English-language media came via a 2015 Wall Street Journal report. The report is titled “They call it brushing” and describes how brushing had become a problem in China where unscrupulous merchants used the technique to game Alibabab, the country’s giant ecommerce platform. And in 2016, the Financial Times reported “China’s ecommerce sites try to sweep away brushing.”

The brushing phenomenon appears to have come to the U.S. not longer after that. A 2018 article by an organization called Scam Busters warned that Chinese brushers had begun large scale campaigns that targeted U.S. consumers.

Is brushing legal?

Probably not. It is certainly a violation of the terms of service of websites like Amazon, and several reports say the tactic violates laws against false advertising as well.

Who are the brushers behind the mystery seeds?

That remains unclear. The FBI and USDA have yet to suggest who is behind the recent seed campaign. Likewise, it is unclear if the brushers behind the campaign are selling seeds or gardening supplies—or if the seeds just represent an inexpensive item to put in the mail as part of the scam.

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‘An absolute necessity:’ Why this expert says China desperately needs a digital currency

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China has been pushing forward its plans to launch a digital yuan, with the aim of becoming the first country in the world to offer a digital sovereign currency. 

After launching trials of the Centralized Bank Digital Currency, or CBDC, in four Chinese cities—Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu and Xiong’an—in May, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, is now in talks with private companies to expand its test run. Major firms such as China’s largest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing and food delivery giant Meituan Dianping are among the candidates to roll out the digital yuan on a large scale through their wide-reaching platforms.

“Trial needs to be underway,” said Lucy Gazamarian, senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers Hong Kong and co-chair of the blockchain committee of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong. Thorough testing of the digital currency is key, she says, because financial stability is at stake.

“You’re looking at rolling out a new digital currency, it’s a leap in innovation,” she said. “[I]t’s the first time we’re going to have money that we program to do things automatically; that has functionality.”

In an Eastworld Spotlight conversation with Fortune’s Clay Chandler, Gazmararian discusses Beijing’s digital yuan ambition and the challenges presented by the initiative, as well as the CBDC’s potential to elevate the renminbi to a reserve currency. The conversation below has been edited for length and clarity.

Fortune: What is DCEP and what has triggered the development of the Centralized Bank Digital Currency?

Lucy Gazararian: The DCEP, Digital Currency Electronic Payment, is China’s version of the CBDC. Many central banks have been looking at this for over five years. China was the first mover into this space [in 2013]. They’ve acknowledged themselves that it was the rise of Bitcoin that spurred a call to action to really take control of the money supply and different currencies that were coming into our world. That was a real trigger because central banks realized and appreciated that the technology that underpinned Bitcoin, for example, could be modified for the fiat world. Central banks have appreciated that this is an exceptional new innovation; that it’s a very exciting pool payments and payment systems [that has] the ability to really upgrade our payments infrastructure.

Tell us a bit about the trials in China.

It’s entirely reasonable that [Beijing] should be conducting pilot programs. You’re looking at rolling out a new digital currency, it’s a leap in innovation. It’s the first time we’re going to have money that we program to do things automatically; that has functionality. It’s natural that you [will] want to test that out very rigorously because you don’t want to roll out a digital currency that fails when you’re talking about financial stability of the whole country. But let’s not forget there are 680-plus cities in China. We’re talking about four [in the pilot], so it’s a way to go.

PBOC is taking a step back and looking at companies like DiDi. It got 90% of the ride-hailing business in China and has hundreds of millions of customers. Didi is an example of these Internet giants that China is so famous for—[such as] Alibaba and Tencent—that have incredible ecosystems that offers a whole range of products and services. You could order a taxi, get food delivery, send a parcel, book theatre tickets, go on a holiday, it’s all in one space, it’s a platform. 

The trial needs to be underway. There’s a whole digital wallet integration that needs to be thought through…They are making sure they’re optimizing the functionality and ensuring integration. 

Why is Beijing pushing for digital currency development? What can the government obtain from this?

It’s become, as China itself has said, a technical inevitability. It’s not about whether they should embark on this undertaking, it’s an absolute necessity. And it makes sense because look at our lives, increasingly we live our lives online. We have tech-enabled lives and are moving towards a digital economy; a digital economy which includes tokenization. 

The new digital economy needs digital money. It needs fiat money in a digital format. Otherwise you’re having the threat of Bitcoin or Libra coins, or other coins that have the technology that can integrate into the new digital economy. So it’s an absolute necessity that China, as well as every other central bank, upgrades their currency.

When will we see a large-scale roll out of CBDC?

As I said earlier, we know about testing in four cities, and you know arguably there’s still 600 to go. Whether they’re gonna need to test it right across, or they will then just roll out, let’s wait and see. But we are expecting certainly phase one of this rollout to happen, I would say before the end of this year or certainly next year.

How will data be used by central banks and how will the central bank reassure people about the privacy of their data?

The data you are going to collect, there are two sides to it. On one side, the data that they’re going to collect, given they are going to be able to engage the complete economic activity of a country in realtime, that data will be recorded on a blockchain-type network, distributed ledger, we don’t know exactly. So the government will have access to all of that. On the [other] hand, it will enable the central bank to do their job more effectively. Because rather than having a lag in economic data, they’re monitoring all the spending, the transactions, money supply, inflation implications, all in realtime… Tracking where people go in the world, because CBDC will be available to Chinese as they do business in other countries. It’s almost a sort of a way to track an individual. So there are big alarming questions that need to be properly considered when it comes to privacy and anonymity.

The technology is there to enforce anonymity, but it’s a question of are they going to implement it? Is that something that they’re going to build into their currency? Time will only tell if different central banks come up with their versions of digital currency, as they say there is no one-size-fits-all, they’re all going to be different and likely to reflect the values and culture of their citizens. Are we just going to accept that all governments get to have this data like we’ve kind of accepted with tech giants like Facebook? No one has really done anything about it.

Could renminbi rise up as the world’s reserve currency through CBDC?

If [China] wants its currency to flow more freely outside of its own borders, it has the technological capability to do that. There’s so much trade happening in the Belt and Road [Initiative], 60-plus cities, and there is not a universal currency. The U.S. dollar is still the currency that needs to be translated, most huge transactions need to flow through the U.S. dollar. So there is a case for the CBDC to become a universal payment instrument in emerging countries as part of the Belt and Road, then [maybe] it could rise up as the world’s reserve currency for emerging countries.

We are [still] so early in this journey. At the end of the day, user adoption of any currency is going to take time. We need all these currencies to be developed and launched. It’s very difficult to say that a digital currency from China is going to be the new world reserve currency because the others have not launched yet. The U.S. dollar has dominated global trade since the end of World War II. It is so integral to our world economy, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

The U.S. now has a digital dollar project; they are very aware of what is necessary. They know for a digital economy, you need a digital currency. So it’s a matter of time.

Does the pandemic in a way provide a kind of boost to the effort to move to a digital currency?

Absolutely. In the U.S., [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi mentioned the digital dollar in her speech, and it was sadly tied to coronavirus, COVID-19. Suddenly, there was an absolute apparent use case. How do you get money immediately overnight into the hands of those that most need it? It is not by posting checks in the mail, it’s really not. If [people] had a digital wallet, they wouldn’t even need a bank account. They just need to use their smartphone and the Fed could theoretically directly deposit funds into their digital wallet. And that was so powerful. 

I think for America, it was Libra and coronavirus that really triggered action [to develop CBDC]. And China, they’ve said it themselves, it was the threat of Bitcoin.

This story is part of Eastworld Spotlight, a series of conversations on matters of business, tech, and finance with executives, experts, entrepreneurs, and investors in Asia. Subscribe to Fortune’s Eastworld newsletter to get them in your inbox.

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Fortescue hits export record for iron ore, driven by demand from China

“This was an outstanding performance which underpinned the operational excellence we delivered in the 2020 financial year, particularly during a quarter when we implemented a range of measures in response to COVID-19,” she said.


“I am very proud of the team’s commitment and cooperation during this time which has sustained our contribution to the Western Australian and national economies through the reliable and secure supply of iron ore to our customers.”

Iron ore is Australia’s most valuable export and this year cracked $100 billion in annual export earnings for the first time. The price of the commodity has defied repeated predictions that it was overdue for a fall, and earlier this year returned to sky-high prices of above $US100 a tonne driven by robust demand from China’s steel mills and weaker-than-expected output from rival overseas exporters such as Brazil’s Vale.

Vivek Dhar, the Commonwealth Bank’s director of mining and energy commodities research, on Thursday said iron ore prices had lifted back above $US110 a tonne on stronger demand from China. However, he cautioned that oversupply risks could threaten to bring prices down in the months ahead.

“While elevated steel mill margins are keeping iron ore prices well supported, the rise in China’s iron ore port stocks suggest that oversupply risks are emerging,” he said.

“We think rising port stocks should eventually weigh on iron ore prices later this year.”

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EU to restrict Hong Kong exports citing ‘grave concern’ over China security law

The European Union said it would limit exports of equipment and technologies to Hong Kong which could be used for surveillance in response to a security law being imposed on the country by China.

The EU said on Tuesday the new law was “a matter of grave concern” and eroded Hong Kong”s rights to freedom, which were supposed to be upheld under the terms of its handover from Britain to China until 2047.

Beijing’s security law was imposed on Hong Kong at the end of June. It criminalises terrorism, secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces.

Many western countries criticise the law, saying it restricts freedoms and undermines the rule of law. But EU members have found it difficult to unite on a position with China, an important trading partner.

The series of measures announced by the EU was spearheaded by France and Germany.

“If we want to maintain our values and principles in dealing with powers like China, we Europeans have to speak with one voice,” said Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

“We now have a common toolbox,” he added.

The bloc said it would also hold off from any negotiations with Hong Kong and would bring in measures to support the population by granting visas and scholarships.

Hong Kong and Chinese government officials say the law is crucial for national security defences in the wake of anti-government protests over the past year.

The law would also create a national security agency in Hong Kong that could put law enforcement in the hands of Beijing.

Beijing on Tuesday announced the suspension of extradition treaties with Canada, Australia and Britain, after they suspended extradition treaties with Hong Kong over the new law.

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Harvard professor accused of lying about China ties faces U.S. tax charges

FILE PHOTO: Charles Lieber leaves federal court after he and two Chinese nationals were charged with lying about their alleged links to the Chinese government, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Katherine Taylor/File Photo

July 29, 2020

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors brought tax charges on Tuesday against a Harvard University professor accused of lying to authorities about his ties to a China-run recruitment program and funding he allegedly received from the Chinese government for research.

Charles Lieber, the former chair of Harvard’s chemistry and chemical biology department, was charged in an indictment filed in federal court in Boston with failing to report income he received from Wuhan University of Technology in China.

The four tax-related counts are in addition to two counts of making false statements to federal authorities that Lieber, 61, pleaded not guilty to in June.

Marc Mukasey, his lawyer, said in a statement that Lieber was innocent. “He didn’t hide anything, and he didn’t get paid as the government alleges,” he said.

Lieber’s case is one of the highest-profile to emerge from a U.S. Justice Department crackdown on Chinese influence within universities amid concerns about spying and intellectual property theft by the Chinese government.

The case centers on China’s Thousand Talents Program, which U.S. authorities say China uses to entice overseas Chinese citizens and foreign researchers to share their knowledge with China in exchange for perks including research funding.

Prosecutors said Lieber in 2011 became a “strategic scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology and later contractually participated in the Thousand Talents Program.

Under his contract, Lieber was paid up to $50,000 a month and living expenses of up to $158,000, prosecutors said. He also was awarded more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab, the prosecutors said.

In exchange, Lieber agreed to organize international conferences, publish articles and apply for patents in the university’s name, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors alleged that in 2018 and 2019, Lieber lied to U.S. authorities about his involvement in the Thousand Talents Plan and affiliation with Wuhan University of Technology.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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