- A researcher close to a Coronavirus breakthrough has been murdered on US soil.
- There are reports Chinese intelligence is behind the murder.
- China uses threats and coercive tactics against their nationals overseas.
The news broke that a Chinese researcher working at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was murdered on May 2. He was apparently on the brink of big breakthrough pertaining to the coronavirus. He was murdered by a fellow Chinese national, who committed suicide after the murder. The deceased has been identified as Dr Bing Liu and was only 37 years old.
According to his biography and a tribute by the UofP, he was a prolific researcher. During his career he co-authored 30+ publications, including four in 2020, in addition to a book. He played a critical role in the Bahar Lab and was the leader in systems biology research for Ivet and her lab.
Dr. Liu received his BS and PhD in Computer Science at the National University of Singapore, under the supervisions of Drs. P.S. Thiagarajan and David Hsu. He did his postdoctoral studies in the lab of Professor Edmund Clarke at Carnegie Mellon University, after which he joined the Bahar lab, as a Research Associate, and was recently promoted to a Research Assistant Professor position within that department.
The individual who is responsible for the murder has been identified as Hao Gu. From open source information, Hao Gu was affiliated with a Chinese school in Pittsburgh.
However, other information became available on credible Russian open sources stating that Hao Gu was working on the orders of Chinese government to murder Dr. Liu. This was a planned murder and execution according to those sources. This is not the first time China has tried to silence their nationals working or studying in the US. Their tactics include pressuring families in China and even threats to coerce a Chinese national in the US to do certain things the Chinese government requires. Chinese threats include physical harm to jail to even murder.
The scientists in China are closely watched and monitored. Even if they leave China to study and work in the West, they are monitored. The monitoring includes a tight hold on their families. Every time scientists visit their families in China, they have meetings with Chinese government representatives in China. It could include anything from basic discussions to a demand that they give proprietary research to China.
If it was murder by China, such methods will continue. They probably couldn’t coerce Dr. Liu, since he had no children and only elderly parents. If they executed him, it was on US soil.
The US needs to take a closer look at Chinese researchers in US facilities. The threat is here and China will continue forcing and executing its nationals on US soil. This perhaps is just another example of the Chinese modus operandi. There is a need for added protection around US labs and research facilities.