National Taiwan University (NTU) professor of chemical engineering Lee Duu-jong (李篤中) has been fined NT$300,000 (US$10,589) for accepting nearly NT$10 million in unauthorized funding from China, the Ministry of Education said yesterday, following months of investigation.
From 2009, Lee, now an NTU lifetime distinguished professor, received three research grants from China’s National Natural Science Foundation via the Harbin Institute of Technology, the ministry said in a statement.
Taking research grants from Chinese government-backed entities without authorization is a breach of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), it said.
Public school educators may not teach in China and must obtain regulatory approval to participate in China’s Key Technologies Research and Development Program or receive grants from Beijing-controlled foundations, the ministry said.
In September last year, an expose by the Chinese-language Mirror Media alleged that Lee received illegal funding from Beijing’s Thousand Talents and Changjiang Scholars programs, in addition to four grants from several universities in China.
Within the day of the Mirror Media report, a complaint filed against Lee triggered an investigation by the ministry, while Lee dropped out of the race to be president of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.
The ministry at the time said that the allegations against Lee were “serious,” as they involved contravening regulations on taking part in academic employment in China, in addition to receiving unauthorized part-time income.
The Thousand Talents program has been a source of controversy in Taiwan, as Beijing funding Taiwanese academics is seen in the nation as a potential threat to national security.
Additional reporting by CNA
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