Former Cleveland Clinic doctor accused of sharing research funded by US with Chinese government
CLEVELAND — A former Cleveland Clinic research doctor and Case Western Reserve University professor is accused of receiving federal grant money for research in the United States and not disclosing similar funding he received for research in the People’s Republic of China.
He is also accused of sharing research he did in the U.S. with the Chinese government.
Dr. Qing Wang was arrested Wednesday afternoon at his home in Shaker Heights. He is being charged with false claims and wire fraud related to more than $3.6 million in grant funding that he and his research group at the Cleveland Clinic received from the National Institutes of Health.
According to a federal complaint, Dr. Wang “knowingly failed to disclose to NIH that he held an affiliation and the position of Dean of the College of Life Sciences and Technology at the Huazhong University of Sciences and Technology” in China. It alleges that he received $3 million in grants from the Chinese government for some of the same scientific research that was funded by the NIH grant, but never disclosed that information.
“Why should another country and another group of citizens benefit from the information that we funded here in the United States?” said Jeffrey Fortunato, an assistant special-agent-in-charge with the Cleveland Division of the FBI.
Dr. Wang is also accused of participating in a Chinese government program that recruited individuals with access to or knowledge of foreign technology and intellectual property. The complaint alleges that he received free travel to China, as well as a three-bedroom apartment on campus for his personal use.
“It’s not just he had this relationship with the Chinese government entity whose aim is to increase their technical capabilities and their research capabilities, it’s that he didn’t disclose it to the United States, he hid it,” said Fortunato.
Dr. Wang was born in the People’s Republic of China, and became a United States citizen through naturalization on November 5, 2005, according to the FBI.
The FBI says Wang’s specialty is in genetics and cardiovascular disease, and none of his research is related to the coronavirus.
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation issued the following statement:
“The National Institutes of Health (NIH) raised concerns to Cleveland Clinic whether Dr. Qing Wang appropriately disclosed foreign research ties to China. Cleveland Clinic conducted an internal review into these matters. Based on the results of that review, Dr. Wang’s employment at the Cleveland Clinic was terminated. Cleveland Clinic has cooperated fully with the NIH and with federal law enforcement as they conducted their own investigations into these same subjects and will continue to do so. Cleveland Clinic takes seriously its obligations to be a good steward of the federal research funds entrusted to us. Cleveland Clinic appreciates the commitment by the NIH and federal law enforcement to the integrity and security of research being conducted by the academic community across the country.”
Case Western Reserve University released a statement as well:
“Like many highly qualified health professionals and researchers who work at our hospital partners, this person held a faculty appointment title but received no compensation from the university. While this individual was not employed by the university, we are grateful for federal investigators’ dedication to protecting our nation’s exceptional research efforts from wrongdoing.”