A Chinese engineer was sentenced to eight years in prison in the United States today for being accused of providing the personal information of potential recruits to China.
(Reuters file photo)
[Central News Agency] Chinese engineer Ji Chaoqun (Ji Chaoqun, transliteration) was sentenced to 8 years in prison in the United States today for being accused of providing the personal information of potential recruits to China.
Agence France-Presse reported that Ji Chaoqun went to the United States on a student visa in 2013 and later joined the U.S. Army Reserve.
He is accused of seeking out American scientists and engineers who could be recruited by the Jiangsu Province State Security Agency.
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Ji Chaoqun was approached by Chinese State Security agents shortly before he came to Chicago in 2013 to study engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the allegations allege.
A year after graduating from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2016, Ji Chaoqun joined the U.S. Army Reserve through a program that recruits foreign nationals with skills critical to the national interest.
The Jiangsu Provincial Department of State Security is an important intelligence unit in China, involved in multiple programs to illegally obtain US industrial and commercial secrets.
Ji Chaoqun was arrested in September 2018 and charged with providing personal information to Chinese intelligence agencies about eight people, all of whom were naturalized U.S. citizens from China or Taiwan, some of whom were U.S. defense contractors.
Ji Chaoqun, about 31, was found guilty last September of illegally acting as an agent of a foreign government and making false statements after a two-week trial in Chicago.
U.S. prosecutors have routinely made the allegations in intelligence-related cases in which the defendants were clearly not foreign intelligence agents.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Ji Chaoqun acted at the direction of Xu Yanjun, deputy director of the Jiangsu Provincial Department of State Security.
The Ji Chaoqun case is apparently linked to China's recent attempts to steal trade secrets from GE Aviation and other aerospace companies, including from U.S. military suppliers.
Ohio-based GE Aviation is one of the world's leading manufacturers of aircraft engines.
Xu Yanjun, a key figure in this operation, was arrested in Belgium in 2018 and subsequently extradited to the United States to stand trial.
He was convicted in November 2021 of economic espionage and attempted theft of trade secrets, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in November 2022.