UCLA Researcher Arrested, Charged With Destroying Evidence In China Espionage Probe

Authored by Jon Street via Campus Reform,

Chinese national and University of California-Los Angeles researcher has been arrested for allegedly throwing away a damaged hard drive while the FBI was investigating him for transferring sensitive U.S. data to China’s National University of Defense Technology. 

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday that 29-year-old Guan Lei “falsely den[ied] his association with the Chinese military” during interviews with federal law enforcement officials. Lei has since admitted that he participated in Chinese military training. 

According to authorities, one of Lei’s faculty advisors in China also served in the Chinese military.

“Guan later admitted that he had participated in military training and wore military uniforms while at NUDT…

…NUDT is suspected of procuring U.S.-origin items to develop supercomputers with nuclear explosive applications,” the Justice Department said. 

The Justice Department further alleged that Lei hid digital files from federal law enforcement and lied about having contact with the Chinese consulate during his time in the U.S. 

An FBI affidavit said the hard drive “was irreparably damaged and that all previous data associated with the hard drive appears to have been removed deliberately and by force.”

Lei faces one felony count of destruction of evidence, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. 

UCLA did not return a request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

The Justice Department’s announcement comes just days after it announced the arrest of a Texas A&M professor for his alleged ties to China.

In recent months, Campus Reform has covered multiple arrests of college professors and researchers who have been arrested over their alleged connections to the Chinese Communist Party. 

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Read Campus Reform’s full coverage of the China threat to U.S. college campuses by visiting CampusReform.org/China

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