20 years for Chinese national in US aviation spying case

Nov 15, 2022, 7:12 AM | Updated: Nov 16, 2022, 3:11 pm
This photo provided by Butler County, Ohio, jail shows Yanjun Xu.  A federal judge is preparing to ...

This photo provided by Butler County, Ohio, jail shows Yanjun Xu. A federal judge is preparing to sentence Yanjun Xu, a Chinese national convicted of trying to steal trade secrets from U.S. aviation and aerospace companies. Prosecutors allege that beginning in 2013, Yanjun Xu recruited experts who worked at aviation companies, including GE Aviation. The government is asking for a 25-year prison term at Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022 sentencing hearing in Cincinnati. Xu's attorneys say a fair sentence would be the nearly five years he's served since his arrest. ( Butler County, Ohio, jail via AP)

( Butler County, Ohio, jail via AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday handed down a 20-year prison sentence to a Chinese national who was convicted of trying to steal trade secrets from multiple U.S. aviation and aerospace companies, including the theft of proprietary airplane engine fan technology.

Judge Timothy Black in Cincinnati rejected arguments by Yanjun Xu’s attorneys that a long sentence was too harsh and the just under five years that Xu has served since his arrest was sufficient punishment.

Prosecutors had asked for a 25-year sentence.

“This case sends a clear message: we will hold accountable anyone attempting to steal American trade secrets,” Kenneth Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said in a statement. A message was left with Xu’s attorneys seeking comment.

The government alleged that beginning in December 2013, Xu recruited experts who worked at aviation companies, including GE Aviation in Cincinnati.

Federal prosecutors described Xu as a deputy division director at the Chinese Ministry of State Security, the country’s intelligence and security agency. In that role, he and others would pay stipends for experts to travel to China under the guise of delivering a university presentation, the government said.

Specifically, Xu was accused by the government of trying to steal technology related to GE Aviation’s composite aircraft engine fan, unduplicated by other companies, to benefit the Chinese government.

Xu, 42, was arrested in Belgium in 2018 after traveling there to meet a GE employee in Europe on business–the government says the employee was not charged–and was later extradited to the United States.

Xu was charged with conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and theft of trade secrets and convicted last year of all charges after a two-week trial.

Xu’s punishment must reflect his activity and efforts on behalf of China, prosecutors argued in a Nov. 8 court filing.

“The sentence must promote respect for the rule of law among the countless employees with access to the trade secrets of American businesses, but also among the foreign governments who seek to convert such information,” they wrote.

Xu’s attorneys argued that he was not a spy, that he never asked for trade secrets and that the case involved the legal exchange of trade information.

“We urge the Court to resist the government’s demands to treat Mr. Xu as an example, as a message to an entire nation,” they wrote in a court filing ahead of sentencing. “Like every other criminal defendant, Mr. Xu is entitled to be treated as an individual, not a statistic.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE --A man stands at the entrance of a hospital in Frankfurt, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Mi...
Associated Press

Panel proposes major overhaul of German hospital financing

BERLIN (AP) — An expert panel unveiled a proposal Tuesday for a major overhaul of Germany’s system for funding hospitals that it says would promote quality over quantity, ending what some described as a “hamster wheel” system where clinics tried to perform as many procedures as possible. The government-appointed panel of independent experts suggested putting […]
1 day ago
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk on the South Lawn of the White House in Washingt...
Associated Press

White House invites in state lawmakers before 2023 sessions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is playing host to roughly 50 Democratic state lawmakers from 31 states this week as legislatures prepare for their upcoming sessions, aiming to talk over strategy on top issues like climate change, gun violence, abortion rights and voting rights. Those expected to attend the meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday […]
1 day ago
FILE - Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks to supporters as he attends a campaign rally on Monday, ...
Associated Press

Youngkin’s early shine faces test as he eyes White House bid

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Glenn Youngkin swept into office as a Republican sensation with a fresh formula for victory as the GOP contemplated its future beyond Donald Trump. But one year after Youngkin became the first Republican in more than a decade to win the Virginia governorship, some in his party believe the shine of […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Latvia revokes license of independent Russian TV channel

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Latvia has revoked the license of an independent Russian TV channel exiled in the Baltic country for, among other things, voicing support for the Russian military and including Crimea in its map of Russia, media authorities said on Tuesday. The decision by the Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council was based […]
1 day ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks about manufacturing jobs and the economy at SK Siltron CSS, a com...
Associated Press

Biden to visit Arizona computer chip site, highlight jobs

President Joe Biden on Tuesday plans to visit the building site for a new computer chip plant in Arizona, using it as a chance to emphasize how his policies are fostering job growth in what could be a challenge to the incoming Republican House majority. Biden has staked his legacy in large part on major […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

First delivery of S. Korean heavy weapons comes to Poland

GDYNIA, Poland (AP) — Polish President Andrzej Duda and the country’s defense minister on Tuesday took delivery of a first shipment of tanks and howitzers from South Korea, hailing the swift implementation of a deal signed in the summer in the face of the war in neighboring Ukraine. Duda and Mariusz Blaszczak were in the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
20 years for Chinese national in US aviation spying case