- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday announced a new initiative to crack down on Chinese intelligence officers pilfering trade secrets from U.S. companies.

The announcement comes as U.S. officials charged three Chinese individuals, a Chinese state-owned company and a Taiwanese company with theft of trade secrets.

Under the new initiative, the Justice Department will aggressively pursue Chinese trade secret theft cases and ensure enough resources are dedicated to prosecuting them quickly and efficiently.

The department also will use the Foreign Agents Registration Act to identify unregistered agents working on behalf of China, Mr. Sessions said.

An economic battle between China and the U.S. has heated up in recent weeks. The Trump administration has imposed a tariff on $250 billion in Chinese goods and, in recent weeks, the Justice Department has charged individuals in three cases involving possible Chinese espionage of U.S. intellectual property.

Between 2013 and 2016, the Justice Department did not charge anyone with spying for China.

“It is time for China to join the community of lawful nations,” Mr. Sessions said in announcing the initiative. “International trade has been good for China, but the cheating must stop. And we must have more law enforcement cooperation; China cannot be a safe haven for criminals who run to China when they are in trouble, never to be extradited.

John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, will lead the initiative.

China wants the fruits of America’s brainpower to harvest the seeds of its planned economic dominance,” Mr. Demers said. “We will confront China’s malign behaviors and encourage them to conduct themselves as they aspire to be one of the world’s leading nations.”

An indictment handed down Thursday by a federal grand jury in San Francisco says that the Chinese company and three individuals conspired to steal trade secrets from Micron, a $100 billion semiconductor company.

One of the defendants served as president of a company acquired by Micron five years ago, Mr. Sessions said, estimating the alleged theft cost the Idaho company nearly $9 billion.

That company then partnered with Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. to steal the random-access technology, which the Chinese did not possess until very recently, the indictment said.

Also this week, the Commerce Department took steps to block Fujian Jinhua from buying goods and services in the U.S., in an effort to keep it from profiting from the technology the U.S. government says it stole.

Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, praised the Trump administration for the indictment.

“The Chinese government’s complicity in intellectual property theft hurts American manufacturers, workers and consumers, and undermines the ability of U.S. businesses to operate in China,” he said in a statement. “I applaud the Department of Justice for using one of its tools today to hold China accountable and encourage the administration to take additional steps to crack down on economic espionage by Chinese business and Chinese government.”

Since September, the U.S. has stepped up its efforts to prosecute Chinese trade secret thefts.

Earlier this week, the department charged two Chinese intelligence officers and several hackers with trying to steal turbofan jet engine technology from 13 companies in the U.S. and abroad from January 2010 to May 2015.

The intelligence officers worked in the Jiangsu Province of the Ministry of State Security, the Chinese government’s main foreign-intelligence gathering agency. It is unclear from court documents where they are now.

On Oct. 11, the Justice Department charged another individual with links to the Ministry of State, Yanjun Xu, with attempting to commit economic espionage.

Mr. Xu is accused of attempting to get an employee of GE Aviation and other companies with revealing their trade secrets by posing as a Chinese university official. He was arrested in Belgium in April, making him the first Chinese intelligence officer to be extradited to the United States and face charges in a federal court.

In September, the Justice Department arrested and charged Ji Chaoqun, a U.S. Army reservist from China. Prosecutors say he secretly gave the Chinese government information on U.S. aerospace employees in 2013.

Mr. Chaoqun was using the information with the goal of turning those workers into informants for the Chinese government.

China’s Foreign Ministry, through a spokesman, has dismissed charges in all three of the cases as “sheer fiction” and “completely fabricated.”

 

The announcement comes as U.S. officials charged three Chinese individuals, a Chinese state-owned company and a Taiwanese company with theft of trade secrets.

Under the new initiative, the Justice Department will aggressively pursue Chinese trade secret theft cases and ensure enough resources are dedicated to prosecuting them quickly and efficiently.

The department also will use the Foreign Agents Registration Act to identify unregistered agents working on behalf of China, Mr. Sessions said.

An economic battle between China and the U.S. has heated up in recent weeks. The Trump administration has imposed a tariff on $250 billion in Chinese goods and, in recent weeks, the Justice Department has charged individuals in three cases involving possible Chinese espionage of U.S. intellectual property.

Between 2013 and 2016, the Justice Department did not charge anyone with spying for China.

“It is time for China to join the community of lawful nations,” Mr. Sessions said in announcing the initiative. “International trade has been good for China, but the cheating must stop. And we must have more law enforcement cooperation; China cannot be a safe haven for criminals who run to China when they are in trouble, never to be extradited.

John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, will lead the initiative.

China wants the fruits of America’s brainpower to harvest the seeds of its planned economic dominance,” Mr. Demers said. “We will confront China’s malign behaviors and encourage them to conduct themselves as they aspire to be one of the world’s leading nations.”

An indictment handed down Thursday by a federal grand jury in San Francisco says that the Chinese company and three individuals conspired to steal trade secrets from Micron, a $100 billion semiconductor company.

One of the defendants served as president of a company acquired by Micron five years ago, Mr. Sessions said, estimating the alleged theft cost the Idaho company nearly $9 billion.

That company then partnered with Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. to steal the random-access technology, which the Chinese did not possess until very recently, the indictment said.

Also this week, the Commerce Department took steps to block Fujian Jinhua from buying goods and services in the U.S., in an effort to keep it from profiting from the technology the U.S. government says it stole.

Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, praised the Trump administration for the indictment.

“The Chinese government’s complicity in intellectual property theft hurts American manufacturers, workers and consumers, and undermines the ability of U.S. businesses to operate in China,” he said in a statement. “I applaud the Department of Justice for using one of its tools today to hold China accountable and encourage the administration to take additional steps to crack down on economic espionage by Chinese business and Chinese government.”

Since September, the U.S. has stepped up its efforts to prosecute Chinese trade secret thefts.

Earlier this week, the department charged two Chinese intelligence officers and several hackers with trying to steal turbofan jet engine technology from 13 companies in the U.S. and abroad from January 2010 to May 2015.

The intelligence officers worked in the Jiangsu Province of the Ministry of State Security, the Chinese government’s main foreign-intelligence gathering agency. It is unclear from court documents where they are now.

On Oct. 11, the Justice Department charged another individual with links to the Ministry of State, Yanjun Xu, with attempting to commit economic espionage.

Mr. Xu is accused of attempting to get an employee of GE Aviation and other companies with revealing their trade secrets by posing as a Chinese university official. He was arrested in Belgium in April, making him the first Chinese intelligence officer to be extradited to the United States and face charges in a federal court.

In September, the Justice Department arrested and charged Ji Chaoqun, a U.S. Army reservist from China. Prosecutors say he secretly gave the Chinese government information on U.S. aerospace employees in 2013.

Mr. Chaoqun was using the information with the goal of turning those workers into informants for the Chinese government.

China’s Foreign Ministry, through a spokesman, has dismissed charges in all three of the cases as “sheer fiction” and “completely fabricated.”


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