Chinese economic espionage is target of new Justice Department initiative

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The Justice Department on Thursday also filed a civil suit in San Francisco seeking to stop the further transfer of these stolen trade secrets and to prevent the defendants from exporting to the United States any products resulting from the alleged theft.

"And it has been increasing rapidly".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new Department of Justice initiative on Thursday, created to address Chinese cyberattacks and corporate spying on United States companies.

But since 2017, three people have been charged with spying for China or attempting to spy for China. On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated that stance and called on the provide "concrete evidence". Micron had previously filed a civil suit in California against both UMC and Fujian Jinhua, accusing the two of the same thing -stealing intellectual property.

US efforts to counter that espionage are multifaceted, Bowdich said.

China and the United States are locked in an escalating trade conflict.

"This is consistent with the state of confrontational actions over the last couple of weeks taken by the administration to tackle everything China's trying to do", said Samm Sacks, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Justice Department's new initiative is focused on deterring Chinese espionage, and protecting companies from having their trade secrets stolen. "Micron has invested billions of dollars over decades to develop its intellectual property". "The actions announced today reinforce that criminal misappropriation will be appropriately addressed".

This week, the Trump administration imposed restrictions on technology exports to the indicted Chinese company, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co.

The new China initiative will be led by John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, and carried out by a senior Federal Bureau of Investigation official, five USA attorneys and several top department officials.

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The launch of the China initiative followed three cases of Chinese economic espionage announced by the Justice Department since September.

The case involves trade secrets worth up to $8.75 billion and allegedly stolen from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc., and is the latest in a series of prosecutions targeting Chinese corporate espionage.

"No country presents a broader, more severe threat to our ideas, our innovation, and our economic security than China", FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement Thursday.

The indictment alleges that China was interested in gaining access to dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM, a type of technology it did not possess.

The latest confrontation from the Trump administration is another allegation of economic espionage, this time directed at a Chinese state-owned enterprise and a Taiwanese firm, both of which the USA says stole secrets from chipmaker Micron.

"The Chinese government's complicity in intellectual property theft hurts American manufacturers, workers, and consumers, and undermines the ability of US businesses to operate in China", Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an emailed statement.

According to the indictment, the Chinese and Taiwanese entities were engaged in a conspiracy to steal the trade secrets of Micron, which maintains a significant competitive advantage in the field, due to its intellectual property- such as trade secrets, which include detailed information on the design, development and manufacturing of advanced DRAM products.

He became the president of a Taiwanese branch under Micron, resigned in 2015 and brought trade secrets over to UMC and Fujian Jinhua, prosecutors said.

Alex Tse, the US attorney in San Francisco, said China hasn't yet begun making products using the stolen technology NBC News reported. This week the Commerce Department it had put Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit on a list of entities that can not buy components, software, and technology goods from USA firms.