SIUC math professor Mingqing Xiao was acquitted of some charges and convicted of others relating to the “China Initiative.” (Photo provided by Edward Benyas)
SIUC math professor Mingqing Xiao was acquitted of some charges and convicted of others relating to the “China Initiative.”

Photo provided by Edward Benyas

Professor Xiao allowed to return to campus after being cleared in government crackdown

April 19, 2023

Applied mathematics professor Mingqing Xiao, who was indicted and then cleared on charges of grant fraud under a Trump-era crackdown on Chinese academics, has been taken off paid administrative leave and allowed to resume teaching and advising.

Dr. Julianne Wallace, interim associate provost of academic affairs, sent an email to Xiao’s dean saying, “Please provide him with an appropriate workload assignment for the remainder of the academic year and proceed as normal when issuing a workload assignment for next year, but per agreement, with more of an emphasis on instruction and service.”

Before he was charged with lying in a grant application for federal funds, Xiao’s duties included research and recruiting, particularly of students in China, in addition to teaching. It was a planned trip to China’s Shenzhen University that landed him in trouble.


The university created a bank account for Xaio to help him cover travel expenses, but the trip was canceled due to Covid. When he filled out the grant application and that year’s taxes, Xiao did not consider the money his, he later told FBI agents.

The federal government indicted Xiao in April of 2021, accusing him of two counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement. The indictment was part of a Trump-era program known as The China Initiative, in which academics of Chinese heritage were scrutinized under the belief some were stealing intellectual property for the Beijing government. In October of 2021, federal prosecutors added four charges of tax fraud, because he did not check a box indicating he had a foreign bank account.

After a short trial last year, a jury exonerated Xiao of all charges in the original indictment but convicted him of the tax charges that had been added at the last minute. He was sentenced to a year of probation but no jail time. Xiao is appealing that conviction.


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    Tony WilliamsApr 26, 2023 at 7:03 pm

    This is welcome news but it reflects no credit on the Faculty Union, Senate, and Graduate Council who should have been actively campaigning against this injustice on the part of SIUC administration from the very beginning. Had they been more oppositional and vocal this injustice would have ended sooner rather than later.