As the U.S. maintains keen vigilance on the rise of China, more and more cases involving the so- called “Chinese espionage” are heard in U.S. courts.
A former employee of a New Jersey-based defense contractor was found guilty of taking U.S. military technology trade secrets from his employer and exporting them back to China on September 26.
A federal jury in Newark found Liu guilty on nine counts, including exporting defense-related data without a license, possessing stolen trade secrets and lying to federal agents. He was acquitted on two counts of lying to federal authorities about one of his visits to China.
According to the indictment, Liu took a personal laptop computer to conferences on nanotechnology in Chongqing in 2009 and Shanghai in 2010 and, while there, gave presentations that described the technology he was working on, in violation of U.S. laws that prohibit exporting defense materials without a license or approval from the Department of State.
Previous to Liu’s trial, a Chinese national was also charged in a U.S. court with trying to broker an illegal deal for large quantities of a restricted high-tech material for military purposes on September 25, but prosecutors refused to say where and when he was arrested.
The defendant, Ming Suan Zhang, made a brief appearance Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn on charges he sought the material for a fighter jet in China. A magistrate jailed him without bail.
Afterwards, court-appointed defense attorney Daniel Nobel said the government had asked him not to disclose the circumstances of his client's arrest, calling it a "somewhat sensitive matter."
The lawyer described his client, the 40-year-old Zhang, as "an honest businessman who was caught up in something he didn't really understand, but what believed was legal." He said Zhang lives in Quanzhou, and works for a company that uses carbon fiber in the manufacturing of sports equipment.
Liu and Zhang may face up to 20 years in jail and harsh fines. Some attorneys said their punishments seemed harshly disproportionate to those levied against U.S. natives found guilty of violating the same trade laws.