Amidst worsening relations between the United States and China, the authorities in the US have arrested a Chinese national on charges of theft of trade secrets after he attempted to board a flight to China.
Authorities in the US have arrested a Chinese national, a researcher at the University of Virginia on charges of theft of trade secrets after he attempted to board a flight to China.
Haizhou Hu, a researcher at the University of Virginia, is charged with accessing a computer without authorization, or exceeding authorization to obtain information from a protected computer and theft of trade secrets, US Justice Department said in a release.
“Haizhou Hu, a Chinese national conducting research at the University of Virginia, was arrested and charged via criminal complaint with a pair of federal crimes just days after he attempted to board a flight to China. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division announced the arrest,” it said.
“According to court documents, investigators first became aware of Hu, who is in the United States conducting research studying bio-mimics and fluid dynamics at the University of Virginia, on August 25, 2020, when he attempted to board a flight to China at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport,” the Justice Department release said.
“A routine screening conducted by authorities revealed that Hu was alleged to be in possession of bio-inspired research simulation software code that he was not authorized to possess, and which represented the result of years of research and resources in its development by members of the University of Virginia academic community,” it added.
The arrest comes days after China’s consulate in Houston, Texas, came under scrutiny and was ordered to shut down over accusations that it engaged for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations in the US.
In retaliation, China ordered the US to close its Consulate General in Chengdu.