Qin Shuren, the head of a Qingdao-based company that imports undersea and marine technology, stands accused of obtaining “items used for anti-submarine warfare from the United States” at the request of Xian-based Northwestern Polytechnical University, a Chinese military research institute previously identified by the U.S. as a national security threat.
The indictment filed Tuesday at a federal court in Boston charged Qin, his company and the university with conspiracy to violate American export laws, Reuters reported.
The technology in question has clear anti-submarine warfare capabilities, an area where China is eager to overcome its disadvantage.
The indictment comes just weeks after American officials revealed that Chinese government hackers infiltrated U.S. defense contractors and stole highly sensitive data on undersea warfare, including information pertaining to a new submarine-mounted supersonic anti-ship missile.
“The United States maintains a significant asymmetric advantage in undersea warfare, but the (Chinese People’s Liberation Army) is making progress,” new U.S. Indo-Pacific Command chief Adm. Philip Davidson told the Senate Armed Services Committee in mid-April.
He added, “China has identified undersea warfare as a priority, both for increasing their own capabilities as well as challenging ours.”
“One of the main concerns that we have is cyber and penetration of dot-com networks, exploiting technology from our defense contractors in some instances,” he further explained.
“And certainly their pursuit in academia is producing some of these understandings for them to exploit.”
China is also said to have incorporated illegally acquired data and information on American military aircraft and combat/reconnaissance drones into its new stealth fighters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
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