General Electric employee convicted of leaking information to China

The deputy prosecutor in the case linked the defendant to the Chinese Communist Party.

This Tuesday, a former General Electric (GE) employee was sentenced to two years in prison for leaking private business information to China. The deputy prosecutor general claimed that the defendant "conspired" with the Chinese Communist Party.

Xiaoqing Zheng, 59, worked for the U.S. multinational infrastructure, financial services and media company from 2008 until his arrest in 2018. A year later, he was indicted on 14 counts along with his relative Zhaoxi Zhang, a Chinese national and majority owner of Liaoning Tianyi Aviation Technology.

After a four-week trial, which ended in March 2021, the federal court found Zheng, an engineer specializing in sealing technology, guilty on three counts. In addition to the two-year prison term, the convicted defendant must pay a fine of $7,500 and serve one year of supervised release.

Conspiracy with China

Zheng, who also had a business in China supplying aviation parts, used his relevant position within GE to get his hands on design models, engineering drawings, configuration files, among other commercially valuable information.

Matthew Olsen, deputy attorney general in the case, claimed that Zheng "exploited his position of trust, betrayed his employer and conspired with the Chinese government to steal innovative U.S. technology." He added: "The Department of Justice will hold accountable those who threaten our national security by colluding to steal valuable trade secrets on behalf of a foreign power."