Based on a suspicion that China uses research and academic projects in the United States as part of intellectual property theft schemes, a major goal of the DOJ’s China Initiative is to “[d]evelop an enforcement strategy concerning non-traditional collectors (e.g., researchers in labs, universities and the defense industrial base) that are being coopted into transferring technology contrary to U.S. interests,” i.e. to investigate professors and researchers with ties to China at American universities.
其中一些调查导致起诉甚至监禁。例如，2021年12月21日，哈佛化学与化学生物学系的前主席查尔斯·利伯（Charles Lieber）是定罪for knowingly hiding his involvement in and income from China’s Thousand Talents Plan—a program designed to recruit people with knowledge of foreign technology and intellectual property to China—and publishing articles, organizing international conferences, and applying for patents on behalf of the Wuhan University, while receiving over $15,000 in grant funding from both the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) and Department of Defense (“DOD”).
司法部提起诉讼胡- 包括三项电汇欺诈罪和三项虚假陈述的罪名，仅在他所谓的未能透露与北京技术大学（BJUT）隶属于田纳西大学诺克斯维尔大学（UTK）的隶属关系。检方声称HU对他的Bjut隶属关系的隐瞒使他能够参加数个国家航空航天局（“ NASA”） - 与UTK资助的项目，NASA在这里为他提供了美国商业秘密。
2021年9月，美国地方法院法官瓦兰（Varlan）发布了一份52页的备忘录，并签发了所有联邦指控的HU命令。该决定强调了司法部针对HU的不足案件。There was insufficient evidence to show that Hu had any intent to defraud the government or knew that his affiliation with BJUT violated NASA’s China Funding Restriction, a restriction from using funds appropriated on or after April 25, 2011 to enter into or fund any grant, cooperative agreement or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company. There was also no evidence that Hu ever collaborated with a Chinese institution in connection with his NASA-funded work. On the other hand, there was evidence that Hu disclosed, for instance, a long-term collaborative relationship with a professor from the National Synchroton Radiation Laboratory in Hefei, China. This fact helped undermine the government’s contention that Hu concealed his affiliations with Chinese institutions. In addition, UTK’s response to Hu’s disclosure, informing him that NASA required assurance that defendant would comply with the Chinese Funding Restrictions and stating that “UTK always includes a special copy stating that, as we understand it, this restriction does not apply to faculty, staff, and students,” explicitly suggested that the Chinese Funding Restriction did not apply to Hu as a UTK faculty member.
重要的是，胡案例表明，一个人与中国机构的隶属关系，甚至没有证据表明商业秘密盗窃或经济间谍活动的证据，可能会引起司法部追求。由于中国倡议推动了司法部的目标策略，因此司法部对胡的目标提出了担忧 - 恰恰相反，公司雇员可能只能基于与中国机构的隶属关系面临无理的起诉。尽管司法部最终可能决定更好地将其资源集中在与知识产权盗窃更直接联系的案件上，但对于任何涉及商业秘密的学术或科学研究的公司，潜在的预防措施将是对员工进行所需的披露教育关于与中国的隶属关系并保持这些披露的证据，以防万一这些雇员受到中国倡议的目标。