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Six Chinese Nationals, and USC Alumni Are Charged With Industrial Espionage

21st Century Wire says…

A federal grand jury indicted six Chinese citizens in a long-term industrial espionage conspiracy case spanning at least a decade – stealing US tech secrets and shipping the intel back to China.

The group are accused of funneling classified radio frequency technologies for mobile devices from U.S. companies over to state-run universities in China.

Economic and industrial espionage is most commonly associated with high-tech and R&D industries like computer software and hardware,  telecommunications, biotechnology, aerospace,engineering, cars, materials and chemical processes.

Legally, this area has remained a murky one – and prosecutions are not always easy to secure because there are gray areas between what is seen to be engaging in the more abstract pursuit of “competitive intelligence”-  and the treacherous accusation of “economic/industrial espionage”.  Legal and illegal methods of information gathering can be difficult to separate in this case.

This latest controversy also includes technology being developed by Pentagon’s own Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), bring this latest case under the the banner of ‘national security’


The US Justice Department has charged six Chinese nationals, including three who studied at the University of Southern California, with stealing trade secrets from US companies and using them to start a new venture with help from the Chinese government.

The Justice Department issued a statement Tuesday announcing a 32-count indictment against the six Chinese citizens, one of whom – Tianjin University Professor Hao Zhang, 36 – was arrested on May 16 after entering the United States through Los Angeles International Airport. The other five individuals are believed to be in China, Reuters reported.

According to the Justice Department, the indictment is related to an alleged years-long effort by Zhang and others to gain access to advanced technology developed in the US and replicate its creation in China. The tech in question is known as thin-film bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR), which is widely used in mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and GPS systems. It also has military applications.

“As today’s case demonstrates, sensitive technology developed by U.S. companies in Silicon Valley and throughout California continues to be vulnerable to coordinated and complex efforts sponsored by foreign governments to steal that technology,” said US Attorney Melinda Haag in a statement. “Combating economic espionage and trade secret theft remains one of the top priorities of this Office.”

While Zhang has been the only person arrested so far, the Justice Department stated that the case dates back to 2005, when Zhang and Chinese national Wei Pang, who is also charged in the indictment, graduated from the University of Southern California with electrical engineering degrees and took jobs with American technology companies.

At USC, the two worked on FBAR technology under funding from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Zhang went on to work at Skyworks Solutions Inc. in Massachusetts, while Pang was employed at Avago Technologies in Colorado. Both worked as FBAR engineers.

The indictment states that Zhang and Pang worked with other co-conspirators to steal “recipes, source code, specifications, presentations, design layouts,” and other proprietary and confidential documents, according according to the Justice Department statement. These were allegedly handed over to officials at Tianjin University, which is run by the Chinese government.

When Tianjin University agreed to build an FBAR production facility in China in 2009, later dubbed ROFS Microsystems, both Zhang and Pang resigned from their jobs in the US and became Tianjin professors, the Justice Department stated.

“According to the charges in the indictment, the defendants leveraged their access to and knowledge of sensitive US technologies to illegally obtain and share US trade secrets with the [People’s Republic of China] for economic advantage,”said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin in a statement…

Read Full Article at RT.com

READ MORE CHINA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire China Files



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