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The head of Harvard University’s chemistry department was charged on Tuesday with attempting to conceal his involvement in a Chinese government program to bring scientists to China, an escalation of a crackdown by U.S. authorities on what they perceive as a campaign to steal ideas born in American universities and medical centers.

In a criminal complaint unsealed on Tuesday, Charles Lieber — a leading nanoelectronics researcher and the chair of Harvard’s department of chemistry and chemical biology — is accused of making false statements to the U.S. Department of Defense about his role in China’s Thousand Talents program, a recruitment initiative that offers payments and perks to scientists trained overseas to convince them to come to China. Lieber was arrested on Tuesday, according to a court filing.

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