(PatriotWise.com)- Last week, the first Chinese intelligence officer to ever be extradited to the US was convicted of attempting to lure aviation experts to China in order to steal trade secrets. But Beijing claims the entire case is nothing but “pure fabrication.”
Xu Yanjun, who worked for China’s Ministry of State Security, was convicted by a federal jury in Ohio on two counts of conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and two counts of attempted theft of trade secrets.
Xu was accused of targeting multiple US aviation and aerospace companies. Among the trade secrets Xu attempted to steal on behalf of the CCP was technology related to GE Aviation’s composite aircraft engine fan. This unique technology has not been duplicated by any other company in the world, making it an ideal target for Beijing.
According to prosecutors, starting in late 2013, Xu, using multiple aliases, paid US industry experts to travel to China ostensibly to give university presentations on their specific area of expertise. Once his target was in China, Xu would attempt to steal confidential company documents and trade secrets.
The GE engineer with whom Xu made contact in 2017 later cooperated with the FBI. In the spring of 2018, working with the Feds, the engineer lured Xu to Belgium where he was apprehended.
Xu now awaits sentencing by a federal district court judge. Under the charges, he faces a maximum prison sentence of up to sixty years as well as fines of more than $5 million.
During the Trump administration, the Justice Department launched its China Initiative which prioritized the prosecution of trade theft, hacking and economic espionage.
Alan E. Kohler Jr., the assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division said Xu’s conviction should serve as a wake-up call to those who still doubt Beijing’s intention to steal US technology.
On Monday, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry dismissed the charges against Xu calling the allegations “pure fabrication.” Speaking with reporters in Beijing, Wang Wenbin said China demands that the United States “ensure the rights and interests” of Xu Yanjun.