Last Updated November 12, 2020


About 80 percent of all economic espionage prosecutions brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) allege conduct that would benefit the Chinese state, and there is at least some nexus to China in around 60 percent of all trade secret theft cases.

The Department of Justice’s China Initiative reflects the strategic priority of countering Chinese national security threats and reinforces the President’s overall national security strategy. The Initiative was launched against the background of previous findings by the Administration concerning China’s practices. In March 2018, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced the results of an investigation of China’s trade practices under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. It concluded, among other things, that a combination of China’s practices are unreasonable, including its outbound investment policies and sponsorship of unauthorized computer intrusions, and that “[a] range of tools may be appropriate to address these serious matters.”

In June 2018, the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy issued a report on “How China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World,” documenting “the two major strategies and various acts, policies, and practices Chinese industrial policy uses in seeking to acquire the intellectual property and technologies of the world and to capture the emerging high- technology industries that will drive future economic growth.”

In addition to identifying and prosecuting those engaged in trade secret theft, hacking, and economic espionage, the Initiative focuses on protecting our critical infrastructure against external threats through foreign direct investment and supply chain compromises, as well as combatting covert efforts to influence the American public and policymakers without proper transparency.

The China Initiative is led by the Department’s National Security Division (NSD), which is responsible for countering nation-state threats to the United States.

China Initiative Leadership and Steering Committee Members

Components of Initiative

The Attorney General set the following goals for the Initiative:

  • Identify priority trade secret theft cases, ensure that investigations are adequately resourced, and work to bring them to fruition in a timely manner and according to the facts and applicable law;
  • Develop an enforcement strategy concerning non-traditional collectors (e.g., researchers in labs, universities and the defense industrial base) that are being coopted into transferring technology contrary to U.S. interests;
  • Educate colleges and universities about potential threats to academic freedom and open discourse from influence efforts on campus;
  • Apply the Foreign Agents Registration Act to unregistered agents seeking to advance China’s political agenda, bringing enforcement actions when appropriate;
  • Equip the nation’s U.S. Attorneys with intelligence and materials they can use to raise awareness of these threats within their Districts and support their outreach efforts;
  • Implement the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) for DOJ (including by working with Treasury to develop regulations under the statute and prepare for increased workflow);
  • Identify opportunities to better address supply chain threats, especially those impacting the telecommunications sector, prior to the transition to 5G networks;
  • Identify Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases involving Chinese companies that compete with American businesses;
  • Increase efforts to improve Chinese responses to requests under the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (MLAA) with the United States; and
  • Evaluate whether additional legislative and administrative authorities are required to protect our national assets from foreign economic aggression.

China-Related Cases Examples

Thursday, November 12, 2020

University Researcher Pleads Guilty to Lying on Grant Applications to Develop Scientific Expertise for China

A rheumatology professor and researcher with strong ties to China pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal authorities as part of an immunology research fraud scheme.

Thursday, October 29, 2020 

Chinese Energy Company, U.S. Oil & Gas Affiliate and Chinese National Indicted for Theft of Trade Secrets

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment alleging corporate entities conspired to steal technology from a Houston-area oil & gas manufacturer, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick and Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Taiwan Company Pleads Guilty to Trade Secret Theft in Criminal Case Involving PRC State-Owned Company

The Department of Justice today announced that United Microelectronics Corporation, Inc. (UMC), a Taiwan semiconductor foundry, pleaded guilty to criminal trade secret theft and was sentenced to pay a $60 million fine, in exchange for its agreement to cooperate with the government in the investigation and prosecution of its co-defendant, a Chinese state-owned-enterprise.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Eight Individuals Charged With Conspiring to Act as Illegal Agents of the People’s Republic of China

A complaint and arrest warrants were unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging eight defendants with conspiring to act in the United States as illegal agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  Six defendants also face related charges of conspiring to commit interstate and international stalking.  The defendants, allegedly acting at the direction and under the control of PRC government officials, conducted surveillance of and engaged in a campaign to harass, stalk, and coerce certain residents of the United States to return to the PRC as part of a global, concerted, and extralegal repatriation effort known as “Operation Fox Hunt.” 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 

Elliott Broidy Pleads Guilty for Back-Channel Lobbying Campaign to Drop 1MDB Investigation and Remove a Chinese Foreign National

Elliott Broidy, 63, of Beverly Hills, California, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Friday, October 9, 2020 

Singaporean National Sentenced to 14 Months in Prison for Acting in the United States As an Illegal Agent of Chinese Intelligence

Jun Wei Yeo, also known as Dickson Yeo, was sentenced today in federal court to 14 months in prison.  Yeo pled guilty on July 24, 2020 to acting within the United States as an illegal agent of a foreign power without first notifying the Attorney General, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 951.  The announcement was made by John G. Demers, Assistant Attorney General; Michael R. Sherwin, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia; James A. Dawson, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of FBI Washington Field Office; Alan E. Kohler, Jr., Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division; and Deputy Assistant Secretary Ricardo Colón, Domestic Operations Deputy Assistant Secretary Ricardo Colón, Domestic Operations.

Monday, September 21, 2020 

New York City Police Department Officer Charged with Acting As an Illegal Agent of the People’s Republic of China

A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in the Eastern District of New York charging Baimadajie Angwang, 33, a New York City Police Department officer and United States Army reservist, with acting as an illegal agent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as well as committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding.  Angwang was arrested earlier today in Williston Park, New York, and his initial appearance is scheduled for this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo at the United States Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 

Seven International Cyber Defendants, Including “Apt41” Actors, Charged In Connection With Computer Intrusion Campaigns Against More Than 100 Victims Globally

In August 2019 and August 2020, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., returned two separate indictments charging five computer hackers, all of whom were residents and nationals of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), with computer intrusions affecting over 100 victim companies in the United States and abroad, including software development companies, computer hardware manufacturers, telecommunications providers, social media companies, video game companies, non-profit organizations, universities, think tanks, and foreign governments, as well as pro-democracy politicians and activists in Hong Kong.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 

Jacksonville Woman Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Illegally Exporting Maritime Raiding Craft and Engines to China

Yang Yang (34, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to conspiring to submit false export information through the federal government’s Automated Export System and to fraudulently export to China maritime raiding craft and engines in violation of United States (U.S.) law, and also to attempting to fraudulently export that equipment in violation of U.S. law. Yang faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Former Employee At Los Alamos National Laboratory Sentenced To Probation For Making False Statements About Being Employed By China

Turab Lookman, 68, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, was sentenced on Sept. 11 to five years of probation and a $75,000 fine for providing a false statement to the Department of Energy.  Lookman is not allowed to leave New Mexico for the term of his probation.

Friday, August 28, 2020 

Chinese National Charged with Destroying Hard Drive During FBI Investigation into the Possible Transfer of Sensitive Software to China

A Chinese national and researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles has been arrested on federal charges of destroying evidence to obstruct an FBI investigation after he was observed throwing a damaged hard drive into a dumpster outside his apartment, the Justice Department announced today.

Monday August 24, 2020 

NASA Researcher Arrested for False Statements and Wire Fraud in Relation to China’s Talents Program

A criminal complaint has been unsealed today, charging Zhengdong Cheng, 53, of College Station, Texas, for conspiracy, making false statements and wire fraud. 

Monday, August 17, 2020 

Former CIA Officer Arrested and Charged with Espionage

Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, 67, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, was arrested on Aug. 14, 2020, on a charge that he conspired with a relative of his who also was a former CIA officer to communicate classified information up to the Top Secret level to intelligence officials of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  The Criminal Complaint containing the charge was unsealed this morning.

Thursday, August 6, 2020 

Company President and Employee Arrested in Alleged Scheme to Violate the Export Control Reform Act

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, Audrey Strauss, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Jonathan Carson, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement (OEE), announced the arrests today of Chong Sik Yu, a/k/a “Chris Yu,” and Yunseo Lee.  Yu and Lee are charged with conspiring to unlawfully export dual-use electronics components, in violation of the Export Control Reform Act, and to commit wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering.  Yu and Lee were arrested this morning and are expected to be presented later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox in Manhattan federal court.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Researcher Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Steal Scientific Trade Secrets from Ohio Children’s Hospital to Sell in China

Former Ohio woman Li Chen, 46, pleaded guilty today via video conference in U.S. District Court today to conspiring to steal scientific trade secrets and conspiring to commit wire fraud concerning the research, identification and treatment of a range of pediatric medical conditions.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

University of Arkansas Professor Indicted for Wire Fraud and Passport Fraud

The Department of Justice announced today that Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 63, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas on 42 counts of wire fraud and two counts of passport fraud.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Harvard University Professor Charged with Tax Offenses

The former Chair of Harvard University’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department was charged today in a superseding indictment with tax offenses for failing to report income he received from Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in Wuhan, China.

Friday July 24, 2020

Singaporean National Pleads Guilty to Acting in the United States as an Illegal Agent of Chinese Intelligence

Jun Wei Yeo, also known as Dickson Yeo, entered a plea of guilty today to one count of acting within the United States as an illegal agent of a foreign power without first notifying the Attorney General, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 951.  Yeo’s plea was entered via videoconference before the Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. 

Thursday July 23, 2020

Researchers Charged With Visa Fraud After Lying About Their Work For China’s People’s Liberation Army

Four individuals have recently been charged with visa fraud in connection with a scheme to lie about their status as members of the People’s Republic of China’s military forces, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), while in the United States conducting research.  Three of these individuals have been arrested and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking the fourth who is a fugitive from justice currently being harbored at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Two Chinese Hackers Working with the Ministry of State Security Charged with Global Computer Intrusion Campaign Targeting Intellectual Property and Confidential Business Information, Including COVID-19 Research

A federal grand jury in Spokane, Washington, returned an indictment earlier this month charging two hackers, both nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China (China), with hacking into the computer systems of hundreds of victim companies, governments, non-governmental organizations, and individual dissidents, clergy, and democratic and human rights activists in the United States and abroad, including Hong Kong and China.  The defendants in some instances acted for their own personal financial gain, and in others for the benefit of the MSS or other Chinese government agencies.  The hackers stole terabytes of data which comprised a sophisticated and prolific threat to U.S. networks.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Researcher Charged with Illegally Using U.S. Grant Funds to Develop Scientific Expertise for China

A rheumatology professor and researcher with strong ties to China has been ordered held without bond to face a charge of grant fraud for not disclosing that he was engaged in a sophisticated scheme to use approximately $4.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop China’s expertise in the areas of rheumatology and immunology.  He is also charged with making false statements about maintaining employment in China at the same time he was employed at universities in the United States, including The Ohio State University.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Chinese Citizen Convicted of Economic Espionage, Theft of Trade Secrets, and Conspiracy

Hao Zhang, 41, of China, was found guilty of economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and conspiring to commit both offenses today, announced the Department of Justice.  The ruling was handed down by the Honorable Edward J. Davila, U.S. District Judge, following a four-day bench trial.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Team Telecom Recommends that the FCC Deny Pacific Light Cable Network System’s Hong Kong Undersea Cable Connection to the United States

Team Telecom today recommended to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), based on national security concerns, that the FCC partially deny the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) subsea cable system application, to the extent it seeks a direct connection between the United States and Hong Kong. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Harvard University Professor Indicted on False Statement Charges

The former Chair of Harvard University’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department was indicted today on charges of making false statements to federal authorities regarding his participation in China’s Thousand Talents Program. Dr. Charles Lieber, 61, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of making false statements and will be arraigned in federal court in Boston at a later date.  Lieber was arrested on Jan. 28, 2020, and charged by criminal complaint.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Former Cleveland Clinic Employee and Chinese “Thousand Talents” Participant Arrested for Wire Fraud

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman of the Northern District of Ohio, and FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith announced a former Cleveland Clinic employee was arrested yesterday without incident by law enforcement and had his initial court appearance today. Dr. Wang, a former Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) employee, is charged with false claims and wire fraud related to more than $3.6 million in grant funding that Dr. Wang and his research group received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Monday, May 11, 2020

University of Arkansas Professor Arrested for Wire Fraud

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, David Clay Fowlkes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch of the FBI Little Rock Field Office announced today that Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 63, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was arrested on Friday, May 8, 2020, on charges related to Wire Fraud. The complaint and complaint affidavit were unsealed this evening after Ang’s initial appearance in court before The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks at the United States District Court in Fayetteville.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Former Emory University Professor and Chinese “Thousand Talents” Participant Convicted and Sentenced for Filing a False Tax Return

On May 8, 2020, Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li, 63, of Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with filing a false tax return and has been sentenced by a United States District Judge on the same day.  Dr. Li, a former Emory University professor and Chinese Thousand Talents Program participant, worked overseas at Chinese Universities and did not report any of his foreign income on his federal tax returns.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Executive Branch Agencies Recommend the FCC Revoke and Terminate China Telecom’s Authorizations to Provide International Telecommunications Services in the United States

Today, interested Executive Branch agencies[1] unanimously recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoke and terminate China Telecom (Americas) Corp.’s authorizations to provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States.  China Telecom is the U.S. subsidiary of a People’s Republic of China (PRC) state-owned telecommunications company.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Hayward Resident Sentenced to Four Years for Acting as an Agent of the People’s Republic of China

Xuehua (Edward) Peng aka Edward Peng was sentenced yesterday to 48 months in prison, and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine for acting as an agent of the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) in connection with a scheme to conduct pickups known as “dead drops” and transport Secure Digital (SD) cards from a source in the United States to the MSS operatives in China, announced the Department of Justice.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Former West Virginia University Professor Pleads Guilty to Fraud That Enabled Him to Participate in the People’s Republic of China’s “Thousand Talents Plan”

Dr. James Patrick Lewis, of Fairview, West Virginia, has admitted to a fraud charge involving West Virginia University, the Department of Justice announced. Lewis, age 54, pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with “Federal Program Fraud.” From 2006 to August 2019, Lewis was a tenured professor at West Virginia University in the physics department, specializing in molecular reactions used in coal conversion technologies. In July 2017, Lewis entered into a contract of employment with the People’s Republic of China through its “Global Experts 1000 Talents Plan.” China’s Thousand Talents Plan is one of the most prominent Chinese Talent recruit plans that are designed to attract, recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security. These talent programs seek to lure overseas talent and foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China and reward individuals for stealing proprietary information.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Researcher at University Arrested for Wire Fraud and Making False Statements About Affiliation with a Chinese University

Anming Hu, a  an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville was arrested on a federal indictment and charged with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Chinese National Sentenced for Stealing Trade Secrets Worth $1 Billion

A former associate scientist was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison in federal court for stealing proprietary information worth more than $1 billion from his employer, a U.S. petroleum company.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Chinese Telecommunications Conglomerate Huawei and Subsidiaries Charged in Racketeering Conspiracy and Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets

A superseding indictment was returned yin Brooklyn, New York, charging Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (Huawei), the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer and two U.S. subsidiaries with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).  The original indictment against Huawei for financial fraud was filed in January 2019 (see below).

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

American Businessman Who Ran Houston-Based Subsidiary of Chinese Company Sentenced To Prison for Theft of Trade Secrets

The head of a Houston-based company that was the subsidiary of a Chinese company that developed stolen trade secrets was sentenced to 16 months in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $330,000 in the District of Columbia.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Chinese Military Personnel Charged with Computer Fraud, Economic Espionage and Wire Fraud for Hacking into Credit Reporting Agency Equifax

A federal grand jury in Atlanta returned an indictment charging four members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with hacking into the computer systems of the credit reporting agency Equifax and stealing Americans’ personal data and Equifax’s valuable trade secrets.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Harvard University Department Chair Charged with Making a Materially False, Fictitious and Fraudulent Statement Regarding Work for China’s Thousand Talents Plan

Dr. Charles Lieber, 60, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with making a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement regarding his affiliation with China’s Thousand Talents Plan and his work for a Chinese university. According to court documents, since 2008, Dr. Lieber who has served as the Principal Investigator of the Lieber Research Group at Harvard University, which specialized in the area of nanoscience, has received more than $15,000,000 in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD). These grants require the disclosure of significant foreign financial conflicts of interest, including financial support from foreign governments or foreign entities.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Visiting Student Charged with Visa Fraud, Making False Statements, Acting as an Agent of a Foreign Government and Conspiracy

Yanqing Ye, 29, a Chinese national, was charged in an indictment with one count each of visa fraud, making false statements, acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General, and conspiracy. According to the indictment, Ye is a Lieutenant of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China, and member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). On her J-1 student visa application, Ye falsely identified herself as a “student” and lied about her ongoing military service at the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), a top military academy directed by the CCP. It is further alleged that, while studying at Boston University’s Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering, Ye continued to work as a PLA Lieutenant completing numerous assignments from PLA officers such as conducting research, assessing U.S. military websites, and sending U.S. documents and information to China.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cancer Researcher from China Charged with Smuggling and False Statements After Being Caught at the Airport with Twenty-one Vials of Stolen Biological Research Material

Zaosong Zheng, 30, a Chinese national, was arrested at Boston’s Logan International Airport, and charged by criminal complaint with attempting to smuggle twenty-one vials of biological research to China. Zheng was later indicted on one count of smuggling goods from the United States and one count of making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements. In August 2018, Zheng entered the United States on a J-1 visa and conducted cancer-cell research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. It is alleged that Zheng stole twenty-one vials of biological research and attempted to smuggle them out of the United States aboard a flight destined for China. Federal officers at Logan Airport discovered the vials hidden in a sock inside one of Zheng’s bags, and not properly packaged. Zheng lied to officers about the contents of his luggage, but later admitted he had stolen the vials from a lab at Beth Israel. Zheng stated that he intended to bring the vials to China to use them to conduct research in his own laboratory and publish the results under his own name.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Department of Justice Reaches $5.5 Million Settlement with Van Andel Research Institute to Resolve Allegations of Undisclosed Chinese Grants to Two Researchers

The Department of Justice announced today that Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) has agreed to pay $5,500,000.00 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting federal grant applications and progress reports to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in which VARI failed to disclose Chinese government grants that funded two VARI researchers. The settlement further resolves allegations that, in a December 2018 letter, VARI made certain factual representations to NIH with deliberate ignorance or reckless disregard for the truth regarding the Chinese grants.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Former CIA Officer Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Espionage

A former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) case officer was sentenced to 19 years in prison for conspiring to communicate, deliver and transmit national defense information to the People’s Republic of China. According to court documents, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 55, left the CIA in 2007 and began residing in Hong Kong. In April 2010, two Chinese intelligence officers approached Lee and offered to pay him for national defense information he had acquired as a CIA case officer. The intelligence officers also told Lee they had prepared for him a gift of $100,000 cash, and they offered to take care of him “for life” in exchange for his cooperation.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Chinese National Who Worked at Monsanto Indicted on Economic Espionage Charges

Haitao Xiang, 42, formerly of Chesterfield, Missouri, was indicted today by a federal grand jury on one count of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, three counts of economic espionage, one count of conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, and three counts of theft of trade secrets. According to the indictment, Xiang was selected to be a member of a Chinese government Talent Plan, and, within a year, quit his job, and sought to take proprietary farming software to China.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Two Former Executives of the China Subsidiary of a Multi-Level Marketing Company Charged for Scheme to Pay Foreign Bribes and Circumvent Internal Accounting Controls

The former head of the Chinese subsidiary of a publicly traded international multi-level marketing company and the former head of the external affairs department of the Chinese subsidiary of the same company were charged for their roles in a scheme to violate the anti-bribery and the internal control provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Friday, November 1, 2019

U.S. Navy Officer, His Wife, and Two Chinese Nationals Charged with Conspiring to Smuggle Military Style Inflatable Boats and Evinrude Military Outboard Motors to China

Four individuals, including two Chinese nationals, an active-duty United States Navy officer, and his wife, indicted on charges relating to a conspiracy to unlawfully smuggle military-style inflatable boats, with Evinrude MFE military outboard motors, to the People’s Republic of China. The Navy officer and two other defendants have also been charged with conspiring to violate firearms law, and the Navy officer has been charged with an additional firearms-related offense and with making false official statements.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Chinese National Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison for Conspiring to Illegally Export Military- and Space-Grade Technology from the United States to China

Tao Li, a 39-year-old Chinese national, was sentenced to 40 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiring to export military and space-grade technology to the People’s Republic of China without a license, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which makes certain unauthorized exports illegal.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Former Intelligence Officer Convicted of Attempted Espionage Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison

Ron Rockwell Hansen, 60, of Utah, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, who pleaded guilty to attempting to communicate, deliver, or transmit information involving the national defense of the United States to the People’s Republic of China, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Northern California Resident Charged with Acting as an Illegal Agent

Xuehua Peng, also known as Edward Peng, was charged for acting as an illegal foreign agent for delivering classified United States national security information to officials of the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS). The MSS is the intelligence and security agency for China and is responsible for counterintelligence, foreign intelligence and political security. MSS has broad powers in China to conduct espionage both domestically and abroad.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Chinese Government Employee Charged in Manhattan Federal Court with Participating in Conspiracy to Fraudulently Obtain U.S. Visas

Zhongsan Liu was arrested and charged for his involvement in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain U.S. research visas for PRC government employees seeking to recruit U.S. experts to China.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Couple Who Worked at Local Research Institute for 10 Years Charged with Stealing Trade Secrets, Wire Fraud

A former Dublin, Ohio couple has been charged with stealing exosome-related trade secrets concerning the research, identification and treatment of a range of pediatric medical conditions.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

University of Kansas Researcher Indicted for Fraud for Failing to Disclose Conflict of Interest with Chinese University

Feng “Franklin” Tao, an associate professor at Kansas University, was indicted on federal charges for concealing the fact he was a full-time employee for Fuzhou University, in China, while doing research at KU that was funded by the U.S. government. He was charged with one count of wire fraud and three counts of program fraud.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Four Chinese Nationals and Chinese Company Indicted for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Evade Sanctions

A federal grand jury charged four Chinese nationals and a Chinese company with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA and defraud the U.S.; conspiracy to violate, evade and avoid restrictions imposed under the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations; and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. The company is alleged to have tried to obscure illicit financial dealings on behalf of sanctioned North Korean entities that were involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Newly Unsealed Federal Indictment Charges Software Engineer with Taking Stolen Trade Secrets to China

Xudong Yao, also known as “William Yao,” a software engineer at a suburban Chicago locomotive manufacturer, was charged with nine counts of theft of trade secrets for allegedly stealing proprietary information from the company and taking it to China.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Former State Department Employee Sentenced for Conspiring with Chinese Agents

Candace Marie Clairborne, a former employee of the U.S. Department of State, was sentenced to 40 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $40,000. Clairborne was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States by lying to law enforcement and background investigators, and hiding her extensive contacts with, and gifts from, agents of the People’s Republic of China, which were provided in exchange for internal documents from the U.S. State Department.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Electrical Engineer Convicted of Conspiring to Illegally Export to China Semiconductor Chips with Missile Guidance Applications

Yi-Chi Shih, an electrical engineer, was found guilty of multiple criminal charges, including a scheme to illegally obtain integrated circuits with military applications that were later exported to China without the required export license. After a six-week trial, Shih was found guilty of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a federal law that makes certain unauthorized exports illegal.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Former CIA Officer Sentenced to Prison for Espionage

Former U.S. Intelligence officer Kevin Patrick Mallory was convicted under the Espionage Act for conspiracy to transmit national defense information to an agent of the People’s Republic of China. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Member of Sophisticated China-Based Hacking Group Indicted for Series of Computer Intrusions, Including 2015 Data Breach of Health Insurer Anthem Inc. Affecting Over 78 Million People

 A federal grand jury returned an indictment unsealed in Indianapolis, Indiana, charging a Chinese national as part of an extremely sophisticated hacking group operating in China and targeting large businesses in the United States, including a computer intrusion and data breach of Indianapolis-based health insurer Anthem Inc.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Former GE Engineer and Chinese Businessman Charged with Economic Espionage and Theft of GE’s Trade Secrets

An indictment charged Xiaoqing Zheng and Zhaoxi Zhang with economic espionage and conspiring to steal General Electric’s (GE’s) trade secrets relating to its turbine technology, knowing and intending that the stolen trade secrets would be used to benefit the People’s Republic of China. The 14-count indictment alleged Zheng, while employed at GE Power & Water, exploited his access by stealing multiple electronic files and transferring them to Zhang, his business partner in China.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Former Manager for International Airline Pleads Guilty to Acting as an Agent of the Chinese Government

Ying Lin, a former manager with an international air carrier headquartered in the People’s Republic of China, pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of the PRC, without prior notification to the Attorney General, by working at the direction and control of military officers assigned to the Permanent Mission of the PRC to the United Nations. Lin transported packages from John F. Kennedy International Airport to the PRC at the orders of the Chinese military officers, in violation of Transportation Security Administration regulations.  Lin was subsequently sentenced to probation.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Chinese National Sentenced to Prison for Selling Counterfeit Computer Parts

Ruiyang Li, a man from Beijing, China, was sentenced to serve 54 months in federal prison for directing the shipment of counterfeit computer-networking equipment into the Southern District of Texas.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

One American and One Chinese National Indicted in Tennessee for Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Trade Secrets and Wire Fraud

A grand jury returned an indictment against Xiaorong (“Shannon”) You and Liu Xiangchen, for conspiracy to steal trade secrets related to formulations for bisphenol-A-free coatings. The indictment alleges that You, Liu, and a third co-conspirator planned for You to exploit her employment with her American employers to steal trade secrets and provide the information for the economic benefit of the Chinese company that Liu managed. Liu’s company planned to manufacture and profit from the products developed using the stolen trade secrets.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Chinese Telecommunications Device Manufacturer and its U.S. Affiliate Indicted for Theft of Trade Secrets, Wire Fraud, and Obstruction of Justice

A 10-count indictment, unsealed in the Western District of Washington, charged Huawei Device Co., Ltd. and Huawei Device Co. USA with theft of trade secrets conspiracy, attempted theft of trade secrets, seven counts of wire fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice. The indictment, returned by a grand jury, details Huawei’s efforts to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile USA and then obstruct justice when T-Mobile threatened to sue Huawei in U.S. District Court. The alleged conduct described in the indictment occurred from 2012 to 2014, and includes an internal Huawei announcement that the company was offering bonuses to employees who succeeded in stealing confidential information from other companies.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Chinese Telecommunications Conglomerate Huawei and Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng Charged With Financial Fraud

A 13-count indictment ,unsealed in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charged four defendants — Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Huawei Device USA Inc., Skycom Tech Co. Ltd., and Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Wanzhou Meng — with various crimes. Huawei and Skycom are charged with bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Huawei and Huawei USA are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice related to the grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of New York. Meng is charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracies to commit bank and wire fraud.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Two Chinese Hackers Associated with the Ministry of State Security Charged with Global Computer Intrusion Campaigns Targeting Intellectual Property and Confidential Business Information

In the Southern District of New York, the Department unsealed an indictment charging Chinese nationals Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. As alleged, the defendants, through their involvement in a hacking group associated with the Chinese Ministry of State Security, from 2006 to in or about 2018, conducted global campaigns of computer intrusions targeting, among other data, intellectual property and confidential business and technological information at managed service providers, which are companies that remotely manage the information technology infrastructure of businesses and governments around the world, including in the United States.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Former Head of Organization Backed by Chinese Energy Conglomerate Convicted of International Bribery, Money Laundering Offenses

Chi Ping Patrick Ho, the head of the China Energy Fund Committee, a nongovernmental organization, was convicted on seven counts for his participation in a multi-year, multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe top officials of Chad and Uganda in exchange for business advantages for a Chinese oil and gas company. After a one-week jury trial, Ho was found guilty of one count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), four counts of violating the FCPA, one count of conspiring to commit international money laundering, and one count of committing international money laundering.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

PRC State-Owned Company, Taiwan Company, and Three Individuals Charged With Economic Espionage

A federal grand jury indicted a state-owned enterprise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a Taiwan company, and three individuals, charging them with crimes related to a conspiracy to steal, convey, and possess stolen trade secrets of an American semiconductor company for the benefit of a company controlled by the PRC government. All of the defendants are charged with a conspiracy to commit economic espionage, among other crimes. In addition, the United States filed a civil lawsuit seeking to enjoin the export to the United States of any products manufactured by UMC or Jinhua that were created using the trade secrets at issue.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Chinese Intelligence Officers and their Recruited Hackers and Insiders Conspired to Steal Sensitive Commercial Aviation and Technological Data for Years

Chinese intelligence officers, and those working under their direction, which included hackers and co-opted company insiders, conducted or otherwise enabled repeated intrusions into private companies’ computer systems in the United States and abroad, for over five years. The conspirators’ ultimate goal was to steal, among other data, intellectual property and confidential business information, including information related to a turbofan engine used in commercial airliners.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Chinese Intelligence Officer Charged with Economic Espionage Involving Theft of Trade Secrets from Leading U.S. Aviation Companies

A Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) operative, Yanjun Xu, also known as Qu Hui and Zhang Hui, was arrested and charged with conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and theft of trade secrets from multiple U.S. aviation and aerospace companies. Xu was extradited to the United States in October 2018. Xu is a Deputy Division Director with the MSS’s Jiangsu State Security Department, Sixth Bureau.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Chinese National Arrested for Allegedly Acting Within the United States as an Illegal Agent of the People’s Republic of China

Ji Chaoqun, a Chinese citizen residing in Chicago, was arrested for allegedly acting within the United States as an illegal agent of the People’s Republic of China. Ji was charged with one count of knowingly acting in the United Stations as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General. Ji was tasked with providing a high-level intelligence officer in the Jiangsu Province with biographical information on eight individuals for possible recruitment by the MSS.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Chinese Scientist Sentenced to Prison in Theft of Engineered Rice

Weiqiang Zhang, a Chinese national and U.S. Legal Permanent Resident, was sentenced to 121 months in a federal prison for conspiring to steal samples of rice seeds from a Kansas biopharmaceutical research facility. Zhang acquired, without authorization, hundreds of rice seeds produced by his employer, Ventria Bioscience. The seeds were found by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in the luggage of Zhang’s China-based colleagues, as they prepared to leave for China from the United States.


[1] For purposes of the recommendation, the Executive Branch agencies included the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Defense, State, Commerce, and the United States Trade Representative.

Updated December 7, 2020

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