China Is Spending a Fortune on Science—and Is Getting Robbed Blind by Corrupt Scientists
China spends more than $230 billion on research and development, second only to the US, but it doesn’t have much to show for it.
But it turns out a good chunk of that has been lining the pockets of the most prominent science officials, at least in wealthy Guangdong province. More than 50 of the leading scientists have been implicated in a scheme to embezzle as much as hundreds of millions of yuan from state R&D projects.
It’s a scandal that goes all the way to the top of Guangdong’s government. In January, the Communist Party sacked Li Xinghua, director of the provincial Communist Party science and technology department. Then on Feb. 14, news broke that Wang Kewei, former deputy director of that same department, was accused of skimming funds off the province’s light-emitting diode (LED) industry development project, to which Guangdong had allocated 450 million yuan ($74 million), reports the South China Morning Post (paywall).