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Senior NASA scientist pleads guilty om China ties (nasdaq.com)
55 points by 737min 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 18 comments

His profile page is still on NASA's site and explains the type of research he does:


China/ccp wants to use our greed against us.

“The defendant faces up to six months in prison”

It seems like this scientist was basically acting as a foreign spy... for which he could face a laughable 6 month sentence? seems far too light of a sentence to deter this behavior in the future.

The DOJ statement says it's up to five years, the article may be wrong:


where they a spy? I was trying to glean the ramifications from their actions but couldn't tell from the article. It sounded like on face value, they accepted grants to be in china's good graces? It didnt explain what that meant I thought

Looks like some form or perjury actually, but the article didn’t list the charge.

Money quote:

“ Meyyappan concealed this work from NASA and the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, and falsely told investigators in an Oct. 27 interview he was not a member of the Thousand Talents Program and did not hold the professorship in China, prosecutors said.”

NASA is a government agency, and the United States has a legitimate interest in ferreting out applicants who may be compromised by a foreign adversary. So from this description he essentially lied to law enforcement or some equivalent and/or checked the box on some form the affirmed whatever they wanted him to affirm under penalty of perjury with all the typical legalese attached to that box.

The Thousand Talents program essentially a foreign espionage operation, or at best, a theft operation, so that caught up to him.

Thousand Talents is a recruitment program for scientific talent, not for intelligence assets. We know this because if this guy was working for Chinese intelligence agency the government would have charged him with more than having a professorship in China.

I suppose they can be both. I have a ResearchGate account and they reached out to me to suggest Chinese scientists that were looking for co-authors on papers and collaboration on research.

If I were an academic and/or worked at an institution that evaluated me by papers published for "impact" it would be a credible enticement.

It has always been the case that working across borders was considered a good way to establish non-diplomatic ties between countries.

That said, if you work for the government you have rules about disclosing such work and it seems that he may have perjured himself on some of his disclosure forms. That is always a bad choice. If true, that he felt compelled to lie about his association would indicate that he also felt if he didn't lie the US Government would ask him to stop working with these folks.

That combination of things sounds like a very common rationalization that people have used forever that goes something like "I know that 'technically' this is against the rules, but what I'm doing doesn't violate the spirit of the rule and it is giving me a large benefit. Since I have decided it wouldn't be a violation, lying about it is harmless and saves a lot of paperwork explaining to people who don't understand what we're doing on why it only seems like it would violate the rule but doesn't really."

It may be survivor bias but it seems that every time someone has used this sort of logic to explain to me why they were not following some "bureaucratic rule" I knew that once it came out that they were not following the rule, they would face worse consequences.

Prosecutors charge what they can prove. It may have only been perjury, mind I still haven’t seen a list of charges at the time of this writing.

> The Thousand Talents program essentially a foreign espionage operation

citations please

Sure! In fairness espionage may be too harsh a charge, but theft under the circumstances isn’t a much better one.


So if foreign talent recruitment is espionage bordering on theft then choking up the immigration pathway for trained scientists to become residents is arson too.

The problem isn’t the talent recruitment. The problem is the Civil-Military Fusion inside what is a Communist Dictatorship where the State is treated as society writ large rather than a participant in society and the CCP puts itself above the State.

What they are recruiting into is that and the PLA has been building up their capabilities out of what they can get their hands on Stateside via programs like this.

Isn't everyone in this world is trying to threat US in one way or the other? Poor guy. I don't know whats the insecurity of Americans about. The other day, I was reading the comment on Capitol Hill, someone commented oh it is so bad, imagine Iran or Russian see this event and plan to do the same.. What's wrong with you guys? It is unlikely US will lose power soon. But it is also unlikely US will hold power forever and ever. US has the biggest army, military expenditure larger than other major countries combined. It is okay to be conservative, but it is wrong to be paranoid. I really worry that US will start a nuclear war, when it assumes its 'enemy' has a gun. This is a stupid age of time when we have auto pilot, mRNA vaccine and this.

> It is unlikely US will lose power soon. But it is also unlikely US will hold power forever and ever.

Since US may lose power to an authoritarian regime four times its population, US should act sooner or later while it can do so effectively, and the question is when and how.

> It is okay to be conservative, but it is wrong to be paranoid.

As to whether US is acting paranoid, you may be interested in the resources listed in another thread [1].

Those resources argue (agreeable or not) that China has been playing the long game, declaring ambitious goals (to dominate production of key technologies by 2025, build a world class military by 2035, and be a superpower by 2049) and consistently acting towards those goals (including technology transfer). Some strategists suggest protecting the technological lead and outrun China on innovation [2].

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25723594

[2]: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/global-strategy-2021-an-alli...

Agree. Protect US interests is the right thing to do. What I don't like is that politicians and media are feeding fears to the general public, many times out of proportion. People are affected by these practices, especially now society is so polarized.

> Isn't everyone in this world is trying to threat US in one way or the other? Poor guy. I don't know whats the insecurity of Americans about.

Don’t be silly. Our adversaries are a short and known list that happens to include some of the larger powers in the Old World.

I’m less concerned about someone threatening the United States directly than I am about them threatening, in no particular order: Israel, Japan, Europe, particularly Eastern Europe where the threat is, Real China (Taiwan), South Korea, etc.

That said, I’m also concerned about the PRC exporting its censorship regime under the leadership of Chairman Winnie the Pooh. They’re not there yet but they’re pushing.

The politicians are feeding fears to American public one way or another, I do feel that it is quite effective now. Talking about censorship, I do see technology will play a bigger role in the future. Now Trump is officially banned on multiple platforms. The genie is out of the bottle now. Unless we have a solution to current problem, I am positive censorship will be common in the future.

I can see China may export influence, and will certainly threat Taiwan. That's probably a given. I recommend people read about the history of China to understand why I am so certain about it.

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