Harvard professor convicted, China says no comment on U.S. judicial cases

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday that he would not comment any judicial cases in the United States, in response to a Harvard University professor's conviction of lying to authorities on his ties with China.

A federal jury in Boston, Massachusetts, on Tuesday found Charles Lieber, a renowned nanoscientist and former chairman of Harvard's chemistry department, guilty of making false statements to U.S. authorities, filing false tax returns and failing to report a Chinese bank account.

Asked about the verdict at a regular news briefing in Beijing, Zhao said he did not know the specific circumstances surrounding the case and would not comment on any U.S. judicial cases.

However, Zhao said that U.S. government departments should not vilify communication and cooperation between China and foreign talents, and stressed that China's interactions are no different in nature from those of other countries.

Lieber's defense lawyer said they will "keep up the fight," and countered that prosecutors had "mangled" evidence, lacked key documents to support their claims and relied too heavily on a "confused" FBI interview with the scientist after his arrest.

The high-profile case is believed to come from what the U.S. Department of Justice calls the "China Initiative," a program critics say is harming academic research and disproportionately targeting Chinese researchers.

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(With input from Reuters)

(Cover: Harvard University Professor Charles Lieber arrives at the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., December 14, 2021. /Reuters)

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