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US arrests army reservist accused of spying for China

US arrests army reservist accused of spying for China
 Ji Chaoqun came from China to the US in 2013 to study at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Photograph: B.O’Kane / Alamy/Alamy

Ji Chaoqun was allegedly tasked with supplying data on American scientists and engineers

A chinese language national who came to america on a scholar visa and enlisted within the military reserves has been arrested in Chicago and accused of assisting Beijing attempt to recruit American scientists and engineers.

Ji Chaoqun become allegedly tasked with providing chinese intelligence with statistics from history checks on about 8 American citizens – some of whom were US defence contractors.

The arrest comes as the united states and China are locked in a excessive-stakes exchange warfare and US counter intelligence step up efforts to fight chinese espionage. China’s ministry of kingdom security operates a large network of spies each inside China and around the arena, and chinese student groups within the US have been accused of coordinating with authorities departments.

The 27-year-vintage, who first arrived in Chicago in 2013 to examine electric engineering on a scholar visa at the Illinois Institute of era, changed into charged with violating the foreign marketers Registration Act, which requires individuals running for foreign governments to register with the united states legal professional popular.

“by way of amassing this information for an arm of the chinese government whilst within the united states, Ji knowingly and unlawfully acted as an agent of a foreign energy,” Andrew McKay, an FBI agent, wrote in an affidavit.

At his first appearance in court docket, Ji requested the chinese language consulate be knowledgeable of his arrest and told the decide he understood his rights at the end of the 15 minute listening to. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted and turned into led away in handcuffs after US magistrate decide Michael Masonthe ordered that he remain in custody.

Consistent with a courtroom affidavit, Ji was working on the direction of a “excessive-stage intelligence officer” in China’s ministry of nation safety, which “handles civilian intelligence collection and is accountable for counter-intelligence and foreign intelligence, as well as political safety.”

All 8 of the human beings Ji allegedly researched have been naturalised American residents who had been born in Taiwan or China, in line with government. The goals both currently worked or have been lately retired from a profession in the science and era enterprise.

A sworn statement filed in federal courtroom by means of an FBI investigator focusing on espionage, claims a number of the human beings targeted became an engineer at one in every of “the sector’s pinnacle plane engine suppliers for both business and navy aircraft.”

After considered one of Ji’s handlers was arrested, he met with US undercover agents in April and may, and admitted to his paintings, which protected amassing historical past checks, the affidavit said.

He allegedly told the undercover retailers: “They simply wanted me to purchase some documents on their behalf. Their purpose changed into simply as it changed into inconvenient for them to make payments from China.”

Ji additionally enlisted in the US army Reserves, consistent with the usa legal professional’s office, but failed to reveal his foreign contacts to the navy.

Ji’s arrest comes after a CIA officer became charged with spying for China in advance this year, likely in reference to the unravelling folks spy networks in China.