A Chinese medical student accused of trying to smuggle cancer research material out of the US has been held without bail by a judge who ruled he was a flight risk. Zheng Zaosong, 29, who last year earned a visa sponsored by Harvard University to study in the US, appeared on Monday in the US District Court in Boston. Magistrate Judge David Hennessy ruled that evidence suggested Zheng had tried to smuggle vials of research specimens in a sock in his suitcase bound for China and granted the prosecution’s request to hold him without bail. Authorities allege Zheng stole the materials from his lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre. He was arrested on December 10 at Boston’s Logan Airport on a charge of making false statements. Chinese researcher ‘tried to smuggle biological material out of US’ According to court documents, Zheng told authorities that some of the vials contained a colleague’s work he had replicated without the authorisation or knowledge of the lab. An affidavit from the FBI, included in court documents, said Zheng was possibly acting on behalf of the Chinese government. Zheng’s federal public defender declined to comment outside court when questioned by the Boston Herald. Harvard officials told The Boston Globe that Zheng’s educational exchange visa had been revoked. Beth Israel, a Harvard-affiliated teaching hospital, has fired Zheng and is cooperating with authorities, a spokeswoman said. “We are deeply proud of the breadth and depth of our research programmes,” Jennifer Kritz said. “Any efforts to compromise research undermine the hard work of our faculty and staff to advance patient care.” The investigation is ongoing, and more charges are possible, prosecutors said. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.