A former Chicago engineering student was sentenced to eight years in prison for spying for the Chinese regime.
Ji Chaoqun, 31, was found guilty of conspiracy to act as an agent of the Beijing Ministry of Security without notifying the United States and of lying in a US government form about its contacts with foreign agencies
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< /p> Ji Chaoqun was sentenced to eight years in prison for spying for the Chinese regime
A former Chicago graduate student was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison for spying for the Chinese regime gathering information on US scientists and engineers with knowledge of aerospace and satellite technology.
A Chicago federal jury convicted Ji Chaoqun, 31, of conspiracy to act as agent of the Chinese Ministry of State Securitywithout notifying the US Attorney General, acting as a spy in the United States and lying on a government form about his contacts with foreign agencies.
The charges allege that Ji was targeted by agents of the Ministry of State Security, or MSS, shortly before arriving in the United States in 2013 to study engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.< /p>
According to prosecutors, after returning to China for the winter break, Ji was“revered” by his MSS superiors. In the end, they gave him a top-secret contract in which he swore loyalty to the cause of the agency, pledging to “dedicate the rest of my life to the security of the State” , according to prosecutors.
< /p>The shield of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is seen at its headquarters in Washington, DC, United States, May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File
Last Ultimately, Ji gathered background reports on eight US citizens, all of whom were born in Taiwan or China, with careers in scientific and technological industries, including several specializing in the aerospace field, according to prosecutors. Seven worked for US defense contractors.
He sent the reports back to his controllers in a zipped attachment that was falsely labeled “midterm exam” question sets, the prosecutor said federal deputy Barry Jonas at Ji's trial.
In 2016, a year after graduating from college, Ji enlisted in the Reserve the US Army through a program to recruit foreigners who have skills deemed vital to the national interest.
The jury found Ji guilty of giving false answers on a government background form asking if he had ever had contact with foreign intelligence agencies.
(With information from AP)