Chinese engineer sentenced to 8 yrs in US prison for spying

CNN
 — 

A previous graduate college student in Chicago was sentenced to 8 many years in prison Wednesday for spying for the Chinese governing administration by gathering facts on engineers and scientists in the United States.

Ji Chaoqun, a Chinese national who came to the US to review electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technologies in 2013 and afterwards enlisted in the US Military Reserves, was arrested in 2018.

The 31-12 months-old was convicted last September of acting illegally as an agent of China’s Ministry of Condition Protection (MSS) and of creating a material fake statement to the US Army.

According to the Justice Section, Ji was tasked with offering an intelligence officer with biographical info on individuals for prospective recruitment as Chinese spies. The people provided Chinese nationals who have been working as engineers and experts in the US, some of whom labored for American defense contractors.

Ji’s spying was part of an effort by Chinese intelligence to get accessibility to sophisticated aerospace and satellite systems getting designed by US firms, the Justice Office stated in a statement.

In 2016, a calendar year soon after graduation, Ji enlisted in the US Military Reserves underneath a software in which foreign nationals can be recruited if their expertise are regarded as “vital to the countrywide interest.”

In his software to sign up for the software, Ji falsely stated that he experienced not experienced any call with a overseas authorities inside of the earlier 7 years. He also failed to disclose his romantic relationship and contacts with Chinese intelligence officers in a subsequent interview with a US Army officer, according to the Justice Department.

In 2018, Ji experienced a number of meetings with an undercover US legislation enforcement agent who was posing as a representative of China’s MSS. Through these conferences, Ji reported that with his army identification, he could pay a visit to and acquire shots of “Roosevelt-class” plane carriers. Ji also discussed that as soon as he attained his US citizenship and stability clearance via the Army Reserves plan, he would seek out a occupation at the CIA, FBI or NASA, the Justice Division claimed, citing proof at demo.

Ji intended to conduct cybersecurity get the job done at a single of individuals businesses so that he would have entry to databases, such as those that contained scientific research, the Justice Office mentioned in the assertion.

Ji was doing the job at the route of Xu Yanjun, a deputy division director at the Jiangsu provincial department of the MMS, the statement said.

Xu, a vocation intelligence officer, was sentenced last calendar year to 20 years in jail for plotting to steal trade tricks from many US aviation and aerospace corporations. Xu was also the initially Chinese spy extradited to the US for trial, soon after becoming detained in Belgium in 2018 pursuing an FBI investigation.

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