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A federal judge has reversed three of the four convictions handed down to US chemical engineer Feng ‘Franklin’ Tao by a jury in April. Tao, who is on unpaid leave from the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence, was accused of hiding ties to China. He is thought to have been the first academic researcher arrested under the China Initiative — a controversial US government programme that ran from 2018 to 2022 and sought to protect US laboratories and businesses from economic espionage.