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U.S. Charges 6 Chinese Nationals With Stealing Tech Secrets

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Several recent incidents have Americans thinking about their long-term relations with China. The two countries are immense trading partners. They're also global powers with clashing interests. They're in a slow-moving confrontation over the waters off East Asia. And then there's news from U.S. prosecutors yesterday. They charged six Chinese nationals with stealing trade secrets. We begin with NPR's Anthony Kuhn in Beijing.

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: Two of the men named in the indictment graduated from the University of Southern California. They went on to get jobs working for U.S. high-tech companies. They allegedly stole their mobile phone technology, then they returned to China and set up factories to make products with that technology. Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei mentioned the case at a routine briefing today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HONG LEI: (Foreign language spoken).

KUHN: "China is extremely concerned about this matter and is in the process of finding out more about it," he said. He added that China will safeguard the legal rights of its citizens who have dealings with the U.S. One of the six, a university professor named Zhang Hao was recently arrested when he traveled to Los Angeles. It'll be hard to arrest the other five. They're believed to be in China, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S. In that respect, the case resembles the U.S. indictment last year of five Chinese military officers for allegedly hacking into several U.S. companies. Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Beijing. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.
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