Chinese engineer sentenced to 8 years in US prison for spying


A former graduate student in Chicago has been convicted eight years in prison Fourth for spying for the Chinese government by gathering information on engineers and scientists in the United States.

Ji Chaoqun, a Chinese citizen who came to the US to study electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2013 and later joined the US Army Reserve, was arrested in 2018.

31 years old is sentenced last September about acting illegally as an agent of China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) and making false statements against the US Army.

According to the Justice Department, Ji was tasked with providing an intelligence officer with biographical information on individuals for potential recruits to be Chinese spies. Individuals include Chinese nationals working as engineers and scientists in the US, some of whom work for US defense contractors.

The Justice Department said in a statement Ji’s espionage was part of an effort by Chinese intelligence to gain access to advanced aerospace and satellite technologies being developed by the companies. America.

In 2016, a year after graduating, Ji joined the U.S. Army Reserve under a program in which foreigners can be recruited if their skills are deemed “essential to the interests of the United States.” nation”.

In his application for the program, Ji falsely stated that he had not had any contact with a foreign government within the past seven years. He also did not disclose his relationships and contacts with Chinese intelligence officers in a later interview with a US Army officer, according to the Justice Department.

In 2018, Ji had several meetings with an undercover US law enforcement agent who was posing as a representative of China’s MSS. During these meetings, Ji said that with his military identification, he was able to visit and photograph the “Roosevelt-class” aircraft carriers. Ji also explained that once he obtains US citizenship and security through the Army Reserve program, he will find work at the CIA, FBI or NASA, the Justice Department said, citing evidence in court.

Ji intends to perform cybersecurity work at one of those agencies so that he has access to databases, including those containing scientific research, the Justice Department said in a statement. declare.

Ji is working under the direction of Xu Yanjun, deputy director of the MMS Jiangsu branch, the statement said.

Xu, a professional intelligence officer, is sentenced Last year to 20 years in prison for conspiring to steal trade secrets of several US aviation and space companies. Xu is also the first Chinese spy to be extradited to the US for trial, after being detained in Belgium in 2018 following an FBI investigation.

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