A 27-year-old Chinese citizen living in the United States was has been arrested on espionage charges in Chicago.
According to statements provided by authorities, Ji Chaoqun has been charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General. The charge stems from allegations that Ji actively gathered intelligence and identified recruitment targets for China’s international intelligence apparatus, working directly with high level officials within the Chinese government. According to the criminal compliant filed on Ji prior to his Tuesday appearance in Federal Court, he entered the United States in 2013 using a student visa. After studying engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Ji went on to enlist in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Ji’s charges may be compounded due to his service, though no statement pertaining to it has been made thus far. However, in an official statement released by the Department of Justice, the U.S. Army 902nd Military Intelligence Group is credited with providing “valuable assistance” in the investigation. The statement goes on to say:
According to the complaint, Ji was born in China and arrived in the United States in 2013 on an F1 Visa, for the purpose of studying electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. In 2016, Ji enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves as an E4 Specialist under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program, which authorizes the U.S. Armed Forces to recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered vital to the national interest.