Chinese Intelligence Officer Convicted of Espionage Targeting GE Aviation

The spy was sentenced to 20 years.

QUICK FACTS:
  • A Chinese intelligence officer was sentenced to 20 years in prison for economic espionage on Wednesday.
  • Forty-two-year-old Yanjun Xu is the first Chinese spy to ever be extradited to the United States to stand trial for his crimes.
  • The foreign intelligence agent was found to be attempting to steal trade secrets from GE Aviation, an aerospace-oriented subsidiary of General Electric. 
  • 2013 saw the start of Xu’s attempts to acquire trade secrets from American businesses regarded as industry leaders in the aviation sector.
  • Xu used false names and front companies to trick employees of large companies into traveling to China, claiming they would be allowed to give presentations at universities, at which time he would copy their computers.
XU’S TRIAL:
  • On November 5, 2021, a federal jury in Cincinnati found him guilty of several counts relating to attempted economic espionage and trade secret theft. 
  • According to court records, he targeted GE Aviation to steal technology for the Chinese military and aviation industry relating to GE Aviation.
  • “As proven at trial, the defendant, a Chinese government intelligence officer, used a range of techniques to attempt to steal technology and proprietary information from companies based in both the U.S. and abroad,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press release. Chinese officials had previously claimed the charges against Xu were a “pure fabrication.”
  • Xu began his career as an intelligence officer in 2003, and he progressed through the ranks of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), the country’s intelligence and security organization, to reach the position of deputy division director.
BACKGROUND:
  • A recent report indicates that China’s communist regime has opened a police department in New York, reportedly to monitor Chinese citizens at odds with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), American Faith reported.
  • China has at least 32 “service stations” around the world, including one in the Big Apple, and several in other major cities.
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers on Thursday that he is deeply concerned about the Chinese government setting up unauthorized “police stations” in U.S. cities to possibly pursue influence operations.