A Chinese engineer has been sentenced by a special court in the US State of Illinois to eight years in prison in the US for spying for China. He allegedly provided the Chinese government with information about possible recruitment targets.
Ji Chaoqun, 31, was found guilty in September of “acting illegally as an agent of a foreign government” and “making false statements” after a trial in Chicago.
Ji, who came to the U.S. on a student visa in 2013, was arrested in September 2018 on charges that he provided Chinese intelligence with information on eight people, all U.S. citizens who were originally from China or Taiwan, and some of whom were U.S. defence contractors.
Ji thus allegedly contributed to Chinese attempts over several years to steal trade secrets from Ohio – based GE Aviation – a world-leading manufacturer of aircraft engines-and other aviation companies, including suppliers to the US military.
According to the US Department of Justice, Ji acted on the orders of Xu Yanjun, a senior official at the Ministry of State Security of China’s Jiangsu province. There, Xu led an important Chinese intelligence unit that would illegally attempt to obtain American industrial and trade secrets.
Xu was arrested in Belgium in 2018 and extradited to the United States to stand trial there. He was found guilty of economic espionage and attempted theft of trade secrets in November 2021. In November 2022, he was sentenced to twenty years in prison.