Chinese engineer sentenced to 8 years in US prison for spying


A former graduate university student in Chicago was sentenced to eight many years in prison Wednesday for spying for the Chinese government by gathering information on engineers and experts in the United States.

Ji Chaoqun, a Chinese countrywide who came to the US to study electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technological know-how in 2013 and later enlisted in the US Military Reserves, was arrested in 2018.

The 31-yr-outdated was convicted last September of acting illegally as an agent of China’s Ministry of Condition Stability (MSS) and of earning a substance false statement to the US Army.

In accordance to the Justice Department, Ji was tasked with furnishing an intelligence officer with biographical facts on people for probable recruitment as Chinese spies. The men and women integrated Chinese nationals who ended up operating as engineers and researchers in the US, some of whom worked for American protection contractors.

Ji’s spying was element of an effort and hard work by Chinese intelligence to attain accessibility to sophisticated aerospace and satellite technologies staying designed by US firms, the Justice Section said in a statement.

In 2016, a 12 months right after graduation, Ji enlisted in the US Military Reserves beneath a application in which international nationals can be recruited if their abilities are viewed as “vital to the nationwide fascination.”

In his application to be a part of the application, Ji falsely mentioned that he had not experienced any speak to with a foreign federal government within just the previous 7 yrs. He also failed to disclose his marriage and contacts with Chinese intelligence officers in a subsequent interview with a US Military officer, in accordance to the Justice Office.

In 2018, Ji experienced quite a few meetings with an undercover US regulation enforcement agent who was posing as a agent of China’s MSS. Throughout these conferences, Ji claimed that with his army identification, he could check out and acquire shots of “Roosevelt-class” plane carriers. Ji also stated that at the time he attained his US citizenship and stability clearance through the Military Reserves plan, he would seek out a occupation at the CIA, FBI or NASA, the Justice Section stated, citing proof at demo.

Ji meant to conduct cybersecurity work at a person of people companies so that he would have obtain to databases, together with those people that contained scientific investigate, the Justice Section stated in the statement.

Ji was functioning at the direction of Xu Yanjun, a deputy division director at the Jiangsu provincial branch of the MMS, the assertion reported.

Xu, a profession intelligence officer, was sentenced previous yr to 20 years in prison for plotting to steal trade tricks from a number of US aviation and aerospace companies. Xu was also the initial Chinese spy extradited to the US for trial, following staying detained in Belgium in 2018 next an FBI investigation.