America sentences a Chinese man to 20 years in prison for espionage
The US Department of Justice said a federal court in Cincinnati yesterday sentenced a Chinese national to 20 years in prison after he was convicted last year of conspiring to steal trade secrets from several US aerospace companies.
Xu Yanjun, the first Chinese spy extradited to the United States for trial, was convicted by a federal jury in November 2021 of conspiracy, attempted industrial espionage and stealing trade secrets.
Prosecutors had requested a 25-year sentence as a deterrent to similar acts, but Xu’s lawyers said in earlier court filings that this request for a sentence exceeds the penalties for others convicted of such crimes.
“Today’s ruling demonstrates the seriousness of these crimes and the determination of the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute efforts by the Chinese government or any foreign power to threaten our economic and national security,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement .
Xu, 42, was accused of being a professional intelligence officer at China’s Ministry of State Security and was arrested in Belgium in 2018 following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the indictments, between 2013 and 2018 Shaw used aliases and front companies to attack several US aerospace companies, including GE Aviation, a unit of General Electric.
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to Reuters questions about the ruling. Last year, China’s foreign ministry called the allegations against Xu “pure slander.”
US officials say the Chinese government poses the greatest long-term threat to the US economy and national security, and is making unprecedented efforts to steal critical technology from US companies and researchers.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said the FBI opens a new counterintelligence case involving China about twice a day.
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