CHICAGO, IL — A Chinese national has been arrested on suspicion of spying on the United States for China, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office. Ji Chaoqun, 27, was living in Chicago while working as an agent for a Chinese intelligence agencies, the government says.
Ji “worked at the direction of a high-level intelligence officer in the Jiangsu Province Ministry of State Security,” the press release said. Accusers say his mission was to obtain biographical information on eight people for potential recruitment by the Chinese intelligence agency.
Some of the individuals targeted for recruitment were Chinese nationals working in highly competitive STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — fields in the U.S., including some U.S. defense contractors.
Ji is charged with one count of “knowingly acting in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General,” the release says.
Ji arrived in the United States in 2013 on an F1 Visa to study electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.
Agencies involved in making this accusation and arrest include the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, with the U.S. Army’s 902nd Military Intelligence Group having “provided valuable assistance.”
In 2016, Ji was allowed to join the U.S. Army Reserves under a program which authorizes enlistment by legal aliens who have a knowledge of topics vital to the national interest. He joined as a specialist. He is alleged to have specifically declined having had contact with a foreign government in the past seven years.
Ji went to court 4 p.m. Tuesday. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
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