A Chinese Scientist Stole American Rice and Will Spend Up to a Decade in Prison

Max Kutner, Newsweek, April 5, 2018

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The Chinese scientist, Weiqiang Zhang, 51, was a legal permanent resident living in Manhattan, Kansas. He was working as a rice breeder at Ventria Bioscience, a biopharmaceutical company that creates genetically modified rice. He stole hundreds of rice seeds from the company that had cost millions of dollars and taken years of research to develop, according to the Justice Department. He kept the seeds in his home.

Then in 2013, United States Customs and Border Protection agents found the seeds in luggage belonging to researchers who visited Zhang from China. They were on their way back to China with the seeds.

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The conclusion of the years-long case comes as President Donald Trump’s administration is planning to punish China for what the White House has said is the theft of intellectual property by that country. In a tweet on Wednesday, the president put the annual amount of intellectual property theft at $300 billion.

FBI Director Christopher Wray {snip} said, “The use of nontraditional collectors, especially in the academic setting, whether it’s professors, scientists, students we see in almost every field office that the FBI has around the country…. They’re exploiting the very open research and development environment that we have.”

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