DOJ Charges Chinese National With Stealing American Tech

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January 29, 2021

The Department of Justice charged a Chinese national for his involvement in a years-long conspiracy to export American technology to China.

Cheng Bo, a 45-year-old employee at a Singapore-based electronics distributor, allegedly helped facilitate at least 18 illegal shipments of American power amplifiers to China between 2012 and 2015. Power amplifiers, which have military applications, face strict export controls.

FBI counterintelligence assistant director Alan Kohler Jr. said Cheng's efforts reflect a larger "relentless" effort to steal American technology to benefit Beijing.

"The People's Republic of China is relentless in its pursuit of U.S. technology, much of which can be used for military purposes," said Kohler in a statement Friday. "The FBI is just as relentless in identifying and stopping those who violate export controls while doing business with China. Let us be clear, this is not business as usual. It is illegal and individuals and companies will pay a price for such violations."

DOJ officials said Cheng's actions helped China secure at least $814,000 in American goods. If convicted, Cheng will serve up to 20 years in prison and face fines up to double the value of the fraudulent transactions.

Cheng's case is only the latest in a series of arrests and charges related to Chinese espionage and interference in American affairs. Earlier this month, a senior NASA scientist pleaded guilty to lying about his connections to a Chinese espionage program. In December, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.) came under fire for his ties to Fang Fang, a suspected agent of the Chinese Communist Party who developed extensive ties to California's Democratic Party.