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Chinese language engineer sentenced to eight years in US jail for spying

CNN  — 

A former graduate scholar in Chicago was sentenced to eight years in jail Wednesday for spying for the Chinese language authorities by gathering info on engineers and scientists in the USA.

Ji Chaoqun, a Chinese language nationwide who got here to the US to review electrical engineering on the Illinois Institute of Expertise in 2013 and later enlisted within the US Military Reserves, was arrested in 2018.

The 31-year-old was convicted final September of appearing illegally as an agent of China’s Ministry of State Safety (MSS) and of constructing a cloth false assertion to the US Military.

In keeping with the Justice Division, Ji was tasked with offering an intelligence officer with biographical info on people for potential recruitment as Chinese language spies. The people included Chinese language nationals who had been working as engineers and scientists within the US, a few of whom labored for American protection contractors.

Ji’s spying was a part of an effort by Chinese language intelligence to acquire entry to superior aerospace and satellite tv for pc applied sciences being developed by US firms, the Justice Division stated in a press release.

In 2016, a yr after commencement, Ji enlisted within the US Military Reserves beneath a program wherein international nationals might be recruited if their expertise are thought of “very important to the nationwide curiosity.”

In his software to affix this system, Ji falsely acknowledged that he had not had any contact with a international authorities throughout the previous seven years. He additionally did not disclose his relationship and contacts with Chinese language intelligence officers in a subsequent interview with a US Military officer, in accordance with the Justice Division.

In 2018, Ji had a number of conferences with an undercover US legislation enforcement agent who was posing as a consultant of China’s MSS. Throughout these conferences, Ji stated that along with his navy identification, he may go to and take pictures of “Roosevelt-class” plane carriers. Ji additionally defined that when he obtained his US citizenship and safety clearance by the Military Reserves program, he would search a job on the CIA, FBI or NASA, the Justice Division stated, citing proof at trial.

Ji supposed to carry out cybersecurity work at a kind of companies in order that he would have entry to databases, together with people who contained scientific analysis, the Justice Division stated within the assertion.

Ji was working on the course of Xu Yanjun, a deputy division director on the Jiangsu provincial department of the MMS, the assertion stated.

Xu, a profession intelligence officer, was sentenced final yr to 20 years in jail for plotting to steal commerce secrets and techniques from a number of US aviation and aerospace firms. Xu was additionally the primary Chinese language spy extradited to the US for trial, after being detained in Belgium in 2018 following an FBI investigation.

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