Chinese National on Student Visa Convicted of Spying for China Before Enlisting in U.S. Army

HONG KONG, CHINA - OCTOBER 01: People wave with a flag of China to celebrate China National Day on October 1, 2022 in Hong Kong, China. China celebrates its National Day on October 1st 2022, marking the 73rd founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty …
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A Chinese national who arrived in the United States on an F-1 student visa has been convicted of spying for China before trying to enlist in the U.S. Army.

Last week, a federal jury in Chicago, Illinois, found 31-year-old Chinese national Ji Chaoqun guilty of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without first notifying the Attorney General, acting as an agent of the People’s Republic of China without first notifying the Attorney General, and making false statements to the U.S. Army.

Chaoqun was arrested and charged in 2018 after having arrived in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa to study electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Evidence at trial showed that Chaoqun, while in the U.S., was working at the direction of high-ranking intelligence officers at the Jiangsu Province Ministry of State Security (JSSD) — a regional department of the Chinese Communist Party’s Ministry of State Security.

Chaoqun, federal prosecutors said, was ordered by Ministry of State Security executive Xu Yanjun to provide intelligence officers background information on Chinese citizens living in the U.S. who could be recruited to work for the JSSD while they worked for U.S. defense contractors.

The goal of the espionage operation, prosecutors said, was to provide high-ranking Chinese officials with critical aerospace and satellite technologies being developed in the U.S.

In 2016, while working covertly for the Chinese government, Chaoqun enlisted in the U.S. Army as an E4 Specialist under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program.

Despite his work for China, Chaoqun denied in his application that he worked for a foreign government in the past seven years and failed to disclose his relationship with high-ranking Chinese intelligence officers.

Chaoqun now faces up to 15 years in U.S. federal prison.

The case is only the latest that shows major vulnerabilities in the U.S. government’s insistence to import hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals every year to take coveted spots at American universities and colleges.

In fiscal year 2019, 575,720 Chinese nationals were awarded F-1 student visas — making up more than 3-in-10 of all international students granted entry to the U.S. on the visa program. Likewise, that same year, 10,658 Chinese nationals were given M-1 student visas, accounting for nearly 6-in-10 international students allowed to enter the U.S. on the visa program.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

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