Espionage - Chinese spy Xu Yanjun convicted of trying to steal US aviation trade secrets from GE Aviation
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Espionage

Chinese spy Xu Yanjun convicted of trying to steal US aviation trade secrets from GE Aviation


Story by South China Morning Post

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Published on November 6, 2021 3:10 AM
 
Xu Yanjun was found guilty of two counts of conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage, and three counts related to trade secret theft Xu was one of 11 Chinese nationals named in October 2018 indictments for involvement in a scheme to steal technology from GE Aviation
 
A Chinese intelligence officer was on Friday convicted in US federal court of economic espionage in an alleged state-backed effort to steal technology from US and French aerospace firms, the Justice Department said.

Xu Yanjun, an official in the Jiangsu province foreign intelligence office of the Ministry of State Security, was found guilty in the Cincinnati court on two counts of conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage, and three counts related to trade secret theft.

The economic espionage charges carry a maximum of 15 years in prison each and a fine of up to US$5 million, while the other charges bring up to 10 years in prison each.

Xu was one of 11 Chinese nationals, including two intelligence officers, named in October 2018 indictments for involvement in a five-year scheme to steal technology from Cincinnati-based GE Aviation, one of the world's leading aircraft engine manufacturers, and France's Safran Group, which was working with GE on engine development.

"Xu attempted to steal technology related to GE Aviation's exclusive composite aircraft engine fan, which no other company in the world has been able to duplicate, to benefit the Chinese state," the Justice Department said in a statement.

Xu, using various aliases, "identified experts who worked for the companies and recruited them to travel to China", the statement added...

Yanjun Xu

Yanjun Xu, also known as Qu Hui and Zhang Hui, was charged in October 2018 with conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and steal trade secrets from multiple U.S. aviation and aerospace companies. Xu was arrested in Belgium in April 2018 following the filing of a criminal complaint against him in Cincinnati. The United States has alleged that Xu is a deputy division director for the Ministry of State Security, and that Xu was engaged in espionage against GE Aviation.

Xu, a senior officer with China's Ministry of State Security, is accused of seeking to steal trade secrets from leading aviation firms, top Justice Department officials said. Xu recruited experts to travel to China, often under the guise of asking them to deliver a university presentation and passing himself off as an official with the Jiangsu Science and Technology Promotion Association. Xu often exchanged information with individuals at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, one of the top engineering schools in China, which has significant influence over the country's aerospace industry, according to court documents.