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Chinese intelligence officer sentenced to 20 years for espionage targeting GE Aviation
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An intelligence officer for the Chinese government was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday for committing economic espionage and attempting to steal trade secrets from GE Aviation, an aerospace-oriented subsidiary of General Electric.
Yanjun Xu, 42, is the first Chinese intelligence officer ever to be extradited to the U.S. to stand trial. He was convicted by a federal jury in Cincinnati on November 5, 2021, on multiple charges related to attempted economic espionage and trade secret theft. Court documents indicate he targeted GE Aviation to steal technology related to GE Aviation's composite aircraft engine fan module – which hasn't been duplicated by any other company in the world – to benefit the Chinese military and aviation sector.
"As proven at trial, the defendant, a Chinese government intelligence officer, used a range of techniques to attempt to steal technology and proprietary information from companies based in both the U.S. and abroad," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press release. Chinese officials previously claimed the charges against Xu were a "pure fabrication."
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