UCLA professor found guilty of stealing military technology for China

A UCLA professor has been found guilty of stealing military technology and sending it to China.

UCLA adjunct professor Yi-Chi Shih was convicted June 26 on 18 federal charges, Newsweek reported, and could now lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, while also facing up to 219 years behind bars for numerous violations of the law. These include conspiracy to break the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), committing mail and wire fraud, lying to a government agency, subscribing to a false tax return, and conspiring to gain unauthorized access to information on a protected computer, according to a Department of Justice news release.

Shih and co-defendant Kiet Ahn Mai tried to access illegally a protected computer owned by a U.S. company that manufactured semiconductor chips called monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs). MMICs are used by the Air Force and Navy in fighter jets, missiles and missile guidance technology, and electronic military defense systems.

The chips were exported to Chengdu GaStone Technology Company (CGTC), a Chinese company, without a required Department of Commerce license. Shih previously served as the president of CGTC, which made the Commerce Department’s Entity List in 2014 “due to its involvement in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interest of the United States – specifically, that it had been involved in the illicit procurement of commodities and items for unauthorized military end use in China,” according to court documents cited by the DOJ.

The only surprise here is that the these guys got caught. Since the late 1990s China has been making aggressive effort to steal American know-how, and has largely been successful. The visible result of that effort has been their space program, almost all of which began with technology thefts.

China complains about the ban of its scientists at a NASA Kepler conference.

China complains about the ban of its scientists at a NASA Kepler conference.

The meeting is a key event for scientists searching for planets beyond the solar system. NASA has rejected applications from Chinese nationals, citing a new security law. In Beijing, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called the move “discriminatory”. The conference is for US and international teams who work on Nasa’s Kepler space telescope program. It will be held at Nasa’s Ames research centre in California next month.

And I say, tough. China does not distinguish between civilian and military research, and in fact has often used its scientists to do espionage, stealing both military and industry secrets in the process.

Posted in Virginia as we pass through Harrisonburg. Note again that Diane, not I, is doing the driving.