Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Chinese official charged with espionage against aviation companies

Chinese official charged with espionage against aviation companies

Yanjun Xu - a senior officer at the Chinese ministry of state security - has been extradited to face the accusations, which include targeting the Ohio-based aircraft engine supplier GE Aviation. The Washington Post reported he was lured to Belgium by us agents.

A Chinese national who allegedly conspired to steal trade secrets from an OH aviation company has been extradited to the US, according to the Justice Department. Pence foreshadowed Xu's arrest, highlighting theft of trade secrets while pledging that the Trump administration would take concrete measures to hold China accountable.

"This case is not an isolated incident".

John Demers, the assistant US attorney general for national security, said the case was not an isolated incident.

"We can not tolerate a nation's stealing our firepower and the fruits of our brainpower. We will not tolerate a nation that reaps what it does not sow". Mr. Xu was arrested in Belgium in April and returned to the United States on Tuesday. Ji was accused of passing information on eight Americans to Chinese intelligence officers for possible recruitment.

The activities took place in OH and involved Xu posing as a representative of the Jiangsu Science and Technology Promotion Association, a cover organization. The university is run by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. China paid for the travel and also gave the experts a fee. He said GE Aviation partnered with the Federal Bureau of Investigation but would not indicate which organization alerted the other of suspected espionage. Impressed, Xu in March asked the engineer if it was possible to "dump" the material from his laptop to a thumb drive when the two met in Belgium, the indictment said.

Court papers in the case indicate the Chinese operation was uncovered through the use of intercepted emails between Chinese officials and American companies. Xu wished to obtain trade secrets involving in the manufacturing of jet engine fan blades, on which GE spent decades and billions of dollars in research.

Another target was USA research, development, and production of aircraft exhaust turbochargers, engine valves, cooling fans, and other engine parts. A third was a leader in unmanned aerial vehicle technology. There could also be financial penalties.

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NBC News on Tuesday quoted USA officials as saying a professor at a top cancer research center in Houston facing child pornography charges was also under scrutiny for alleged economic espionage for China. This is the American way.

"In reality, the presentations were for the benefit of the Chinese government", the indictment said. "The defendant will now face trial in federal court in Cincinnati".

"If not the first, this is an exceptionally rare achievement - that you're able to catch an espionage operative and have them extradited to the United States", said John Carlin, a former assistant attorney general for national security.

"Chinese companies and individuals often acquire USA technology for commercial and scientific purposes", the report states.

While the USA government has in the past charged Chinese officials with similar offenses, this is the first time they have done so publicly with an individual in custody.

"We believe that China will continue to be a threat to USA proprietary technology and intellectual property through cyber-enabled means or other methods", the report said.

US federal agents managed to apprehend a Chinese spy in Belgium and will transport him to the United States.

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