China under Espionage Allegations by US Amidst Trade War
China, which was already under the allegations of cyber espionage by the United States and Britain, is again alleged of data breach. The US government alleged a Chinese GE engineer and a businessman of stealing tech secret data with an aim of passing it to Beijing.
In a release on Tuesday night, the Justice Department notified that it had charged a former employee of the multinational conglomerate General Electric, Zheng Xiaoqing and Chinese businessman Zhang Zhaoxi with economic espionage. According to the department, the two had conspired to rob the trade secrets of GE related to turbine technologies that are likely to benefit the Chinese government.
The indictment claims that while Zheng was employed at GE’s New York office, he used his access to the official computer system to download tech designs and other files between 2016 and 2018. He is a US citizen, who has been emailing the obtained files to the China-based business Zhang.
The pair has been using the GE technology to benefit Chinese companies in which they had business interests, alleged the Department. It also accused that Zheng and Zhang were aware of the fact that the theft would be beneficial for the Chinese government-sponsored research institutes, where they reportedly have links. Moreover, the financial support to them was also provided by Chinese authorities through these research institutes.
In a statement, assistant attorney general for national security, John Demers said, “The indictment alleges a textbook example of the Chinese government’s strategy to rob American companies of their intellectual property and to replicate their products in Chinese factories, enabling Chinese companies to replace the American company first in the Chinese market, and later worldwide.”
The “state-sponsored theft” of “world’s second-largest economy” is a sensitive issue, where the US government is seeking higher financial penalties and lengthy prison sentences for both Zheng and Zhang.
The Chinese effort of espionage into American firms is one of the major reasons that the Trump administration cited to launch a trade war with China last year.
The two nations are already striving to enhance their deteriorating relations, where the leaders of both China and the US — Xi Jinping and Donald Trump — are seeking to conduct a meeting for resolving the issues. While one of the major concerns that was the basis of the trade war has emerged again, could a healthy settlement be expected?
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