Yanjun Xu, a deputy division director of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), was extradited to the United States this week and was charged with conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and stealing trade secrets from multiple U.S. aerospace and aviation companies.
The MSS conducts espionage both domestically in China and abroad as well as political security and counter-intelligence.
Xu was arrested on April 1in Belgium and then indicted by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Ohio.
“Innovation in aviation has been a hallmark of life and industry in the United States since the Wright brothers first designed gliders in Dayton more than a century ago,” Benjamin C. Glassman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said. “U.S. aerospace companies invest decades of time and billions of dollars in research. This is the American way. In contrast, according to the indictment, a Chinese intelligence officer tried to acquire that same, hard-earned innovation through theft. This case shows that federal law enforcement authorities can not only detect and disrupt such espionage but can also catch its perpetrators.”
Xu also went by the names Qu Hui and Zhang Hui.
“This unprecedented extradition of a Chinese intelligence officer exposes the Chinese government’s direct oversight of economic espionage against the United States,” Bill Priestap, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, said.