Former U.S. Army Reservist Convicted of Spying for China

A former U.S. Army reservist was convicted of acting as a Chinese spy, according to the Department of Justice.

In a press release published on Tuesday, the Department of Justice identified the man as 31-year-old Ji Chaoqun, a current resident of Chicago.

The press release said that Ji was "found guilty on one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, specifically the People's Republic of China, without first notifying the Attorney General; one count of acting as an agent of the People's Republic of China without first notifying the Attorney General; and one count of making a material false statement to the U.S. Army."

The conviction on Tuesday comes several years after Ji was first accused of acting as Chinese spy. In September 2018, the Department of Justice filed a 17-page indictment stating that Ji arrived in Chicago from China in 2013 and communicated with an intelligence officer with the Ministry of State. Security for the People's Republic of China, specifically the Jiangsu Province Ministry of State Security (JSSD).

Department of Justice
A view of the lectern before U.S. Attorney General William Barr holds a press conference about the release of the Mueller Report at the Department of Justice April 18, 2019, in Washington, D.C. On September 27, the Department of Justice announced the conviction of a former U.S. Army Reservist that was acting as a Chinese spy. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

"Ji, a Chinese citizen residing in Chicago, was tasked with providing the intelligence officer with biographical information on certain individuals for possible recruitment by the JSSD. The individuals included Chinese nationals who were working as engineers and scientists in the United States, some of whom were U.S. defense contractors," the Department of Justice said in the press release on Tuesday.

According to the Department of Justice, in 2016, Ji applied to become a member of the U.S. Army Reserve under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program. The Department of Justice said that the program "authorized the U.S. Armed Forces to recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered vital to the national interest."

In the process of applying to the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, Ji allegedly lied that he had no contact with a foreign government in the past seven years. Ji was also accused of lying to a U.S. Army officer during an interview about his contact with the People's Republic of China, the Department of Justice said.

"Ji faces up to 10 years in prison for acting within the United States as an illegal agent of the People's Republic of China and up to five years for the conspiracy and false statement offenses," the press release said.

When contacted by Newsweek, the Department of Justice declined to comment.

A somewhat similar incident occurred in June of this year, when a U.S. Army helicopter pilot pleaded guilty to acting as a Chinese spy and sharing aviation information from defense contractors.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said that 67-year-old Shapour Moinian "was a paid agent of the Chinese government who sold American aviation-related technology."