The Wall Street Journal: Alleged Chinese spy faces charges of stealing GE secrets

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Employees next to a row of autoclave ovens at the GE Aviation manufacturing facility in Batesville, Mississippi, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016.

A Chinese intelligence operative arrested in Belgium has been brought to the U.S. to face charges that he conspired to steal trade secrets from GE Aviation GE, -1.99%  and other companies, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

The arrest is a rare break for U.S. law enforcement, which has previously charged Chinese government officials with economic espionage and hacking-related offenses but has never publicly identified anyone in custody that way.

“This case is not an isolated incident. It is part of an overall economic policy of developing China at American expense,” John Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s national-security division, said in announcing the charges.

The arrested man, Yanjun Xu, was identified in court papers as a deputy division director in a department of China’s Ministry of State Security. Prosecutors allege that he worked from 2013 through this year to obtain sensitive and proprietary information from U.S. companies, in part by recruiting employees to travel to China under the guise of an exchange of ideas.

An expanded version of this story is available at WSJ.com

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