A former graduate university student in Chicago was sentenced to 8 many years in prison Wednesday for spying for the Chinese federal government by gathering information and facts on engineers and scientists in the United States.
Ji Chaoqun, a Chinese countrywide who came to the US to analyze electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2013 and afterwards enlisted in the US Military Reserves, was arrested in 2018.
The 31-12 months-old was convicted last September of performing illegally as an agent of China’s Ministry of Condition Protection (MSS) and of earning a material untrue statement to the US Army.
In accordance to the Justice Office, Ji was tasked with delivering an intelligence officer with biographical data on individuals for possible recruitment as Chinese spies. The individuals bundled Chinese nationals who were functioning as engineers and experts in the US, some of whom worked for American defense contractors.
Ji’s spying was section of an effort and hard work by Chinese intelligence to get entry to state-of-the-art aerospace and satellite systems being designed by US firms, the Justice Office stated in a statement.
In 2016, a yr following graduation, Ji enlisted in the US Army Reserves below a application in which international nationals can be recruited if their skills are deemed “vital to the nationwide interest.”
In his application to sign up for the system, Ji falsely mentioned that he experienced not had any get hold of with a overseas govt within just the previous seven several years. He also unsuccessful to disclose his romance and contacts with Chinese intelligence officers in a subsequent interview with a US Army officer, in accordance to the Justice Section.
In 2018, Ji experienced quite a few conferences with an undercover US legislation enforcement agent who was posing as a agent of China’s MSS. All through these meetings, Ji claimed that with his army identification, he could stop by and consider pics of “Roosevelt-class” plane carriers. Ji also defined that the moment he received his US citizenship and stability clearance by the Military Reserves system, he would seek a task at the CIA, FBI or NASA, the Justice Section explained, citing evidence at demo.
Ji intended to accomplish cybersecurity work at just one of those businesses so that he would have entry to databases, like those that contained scientific exploration, the Justice Division stated in the assertion.
Ji was performing at the course of Xu Yanjun, a deputy division director at the Jiangsu provincial branch of the MMS, the assertion mentioned.
Xu, a profession intelligence officer, was sentenced past calendar year to 20 many years in prison for plotting to steal trade tricks from a number of US aviation and aerospace firms. Xu was also the first Chinese spy extradited to the US for demo, right after becoming detained in Belgium in 2018 following an FBI investigation.