Chinese Spy Convicted of Conspiracy to Steal Cutting-Edge US Aviation Technology

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A assemblage successful Cincinnati has convicted a Chinese quality cause implicit his relation successful a strategy to enlistee spies and bargain delicate American aviation exertion for Beijing.

Xu Yanjun, a lawman part manager astatine the Chinese Ministry of State Security, Beijing’s apical quality agency, was recovered blameworthy connected each 4 counts, including conspiring to and attempting to perpetrate economical espionage and stealing trade secrets, according to the Justice Department.

He was the first-ever Chinese quality cause to beryllium extradited to the United States to basal trial. Xu was transferred from Belgium successful 2018 aft an technologist helium targeted for recruitment cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to lure him to the European country.

The companies Xu targeted included GE Aviation, an Ohio-headquartered institution that has designed an exclusive composite craft motor instrumentality that nary different institution successful the satellite has. Xu had attempted to bargain the proprietary motor instrumentality exertion to payment the Chinese state, Vipal Patel, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said connected Friday.

Developing the aviation assemblage forms portion of Beijing’s “Made successful China 2025” concern plan, with aims to alteration the state into a high-tech manufacturing powerhouse by the twelvemonth 2025. A Chinese subject specializer testified during the proceedings successful October that aviation enlargement “has actively been a cardinal precedence for decades, and a cardinal root of frustration” for the regime, according to section media reports.

Xu had pleaded not blameworthy but was convicted of each charges pursuing a astir three-week-long trial. He present faces up to 60 years of situation word successful full with an implicit $5 cardinal fine. He volition beryllium sentenced by a national territory tribunal judge, though nary sentencing day has been set.

Since December 2013, national prosecutors said, Xu had been recruiting employees from companies considered arsenic manufacture leaders successful the United States and abroad. He had utilized aggregate aliases, including “Qu Hui” and “Zhang Hui” to execute his duties for Beijing, and represented himself arsenic an subordinate of Jiangsu Science and Technology Promotion Association to conceal the quality of his work, tribunal documents show.

Xu would wage the recruits to question to China, often nether the guise of exchanging ideas oregon giving a presumption astatine a university. The targeted individuals besides received stipends connected apical of compensation for their question costs.

Epoch Times Photo The entranceway to the General Electric Aviation successful Lynn, Massachusetts, connected March 31, 2020. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

Xu successful 2017 solicited a GE Aviation technologist successful Cincinnati to springiness a study astatine a Chinese university, covering highly method topics specified arsenic the company’s motor operation design, according to tribunal filings. Xu paid $3,500 for the travel on with associated expenses for meals and lodging.

In the following year, helium sought the strategy specification and plan process from that employee. He was arrested successful Belgium that April erstwhile traveling to conscionable with the individual.

FBI supervisory peculiar cause Bradley Hull told a U.S. District Court successful Cincinnati connected Monday that Chinese agents had downloaded 200 household photos of the targeted GE engineer, who has household members successful China, successful bid to coerce him to go a spy, according to section media.

The technologist started moving with the FBI successful November 2017 aft an FBI location search.

Hull said Xu’s compartment telephone had helped the FBI recognize however Chinese spies run and uncover those wrong Xu’s networks.

“People successful quality similar us—we absorption connected aviation,” said a connection sent from Xu to a co-worker successful 2016, Hull work retired successful court, section media reported. “The enactment asks you to get the materials of the U.S.—the U.S. F-22 combatant aircraft. You can’t get it by sitting astatine home.”

Xu has been a authorities cause since 2003. Prosecutors astatine the proceedings displayed an representation of Xu’s Chinese Communist Party rank paper taken from his telephone aft his arrest, which Hull said was antecedently chartless to the FBI.

“For those who uncertainty the existent goals of the PRC, this should beryllium a wakeup call; they are stealing American exertion to payment their system and military,” said Alan E. Kohler Jr., assistance manager of the counterintelligence part for the FBI, who utilized the acronym for People’s Republic of China, according to a property release.

Former U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman, who handled the lawsuit 3 years agone erstwhile Xu was extradited to Cincinnati, said the blameworthy verdict was “surely among the astir important victories by United States instrumentality enforcement against China’s bare ambition to get intelligence spot by immoderate means, ineligible oregon otherwise,” reported section broadcaster WCPO.

“The reply of the United States to different country’s ambition to summation done theft is simply to clasp radical accountable nether the law. I’m arrogant to beryllium an American,” Glassman said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Mangan told the assemblage successful his closing connection that “nearly each of” the grounds successful the lawsuit came from Xu’s ain words—referring to substance messages, emails, calendar entries and different physics records that FBI retrieved from Xu’s phone.

“It shines a airy connected what his deeds were … and a wide model into his intent,” helium said, according to WCPO.

Eva Fu


Eva Fu is simply a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing connected U.S.-China relations, spiritual freedom, and quality rights.

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