Chinese spy convicted of economic espionage

by mcardinal

Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News 


A federal jury convicted a New York GE employee of conspiracy to commit espionage last week following a month-long trial. A press release from the DOJ indicated that Xiaoqing Zheng, 59, of Niskayun, stole trade secrets while he was employed as an engineer specializing in sealing technology at GE from 2008 until the summer of 2018.

The decision revealed that Zheng had conspired with recipients in China to provide GE’s patented steam and gas turbine technology for the purpose of benefiting the People’s Republic of China and China-based companies. 

“Zheng conspired to steal trade secrets from his employer, GE, and transfer this information to his business partner in China, so they could enrich both themselves and companies receiving support from the PRC government,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division according to the DOJ. “This is the kind of exploitation of our economy and open society that the Department will continue to counter relentlessly.”

According to MSN’s report, the court documents indicated that the files used to incriminate Zheng were sent from his personal Hotmail account.

“Dr. Zheng used his status as a trusted engineer with GE to conspire to commit economic espionage on behalf of the People’s Republic of China,” said Special Agent in Charge Janeen DiGuiseppi of the FBI’s Albany Field Office. “This conviction should send a strong message that the FBI will continue to vigorously investigate economic espionage cases and pursue prosecution in partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office to ensure the protection of American technology and American jobs.”

“Those who conspire to steal technology from a U.S. business and transfer it to China can cause tremendous damage,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “Good-paying jobs could be lost, and communities can suffer. These actions help China become more of a threat to our national security. This is why the FBI puts so much effort into investigating cases of economic espionage.”

Zheng will be sentenced on Aug. 2 and faces of up to $5 million in fines and 15 years in prison.

News of Zheng’s conviction comes on the heels of the Department of Justice announcing an end to their anti-espionage program that was pointed at thwarting Chinese agents, as FISM had previously reported.