Chinese researcher arrested in US on charges of stealing trade secrets

US authorities have arrested a 34-year-old Chinese national on charges of theft of trade secrets. A researcher at the University of Virginia, Haizhou Hu, was arrested after her attempted to board a flight to China.

He has been charged with accessing a computer without authorization, or exceeding authorization to obtain information from a protected computer and theft of trade secrets, Justice Department said in a release.

“Haizhou Hu, a Chinese national conducting research at the University of Virginia, was arrested today 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.

Ties between US and China have worsened in the recent past with two countries sparring over several issues.

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“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.

Recently, the US had ordered China to close its Consulate General in Houston, Texas, 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.

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