A Chinese spy on an F-1 student visa, who enlisted in the United States Army, has been sentenced in federal court after being convicted last year.
Ji Chaoqun, a 31-year-old Chinese national who arrived in the U.S. on a student visa, was sentenced to eight years in federal prison this week for spying for China, the Department of Justice announced.
As Breitbart News reported, Chaoqun was convicted last year on one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, one count of acting as an agent of the People’s Republic of China, and one count of 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, Illinois.
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 was ordered by Ministry of State Security executive Xu Yanjun to provide intelligence officers with 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 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.
The case is only the latest to show major vulnerabilities in the government’s insistence upon importing hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals on student visas every year.
In Fiscal Year 2021, for example, nearly 350,000 Chinese nationals were awarded student visas. China, more than any other nation in the world, sends the most nationals to the U.S. annually to take limited spots at American universities and colleges. Put another way, more than 3-in-10 foreign students in the U.S. arrived from China.