Feds look to crack down on Chinese economic espionage

Federal prosecutors in Boston are looking to crack down on economic espionage by Chinese nationals.

U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling and U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Demers said Friday they met with officials at local companies and colleges this week to encourage them to bring suspected instances of espionage to the attention of federal investigators.

Demers said Massachusetts is a focus of the Department of Justice's "China Initiative " announced last November because its research universities and biotech, cybersecurity and defense companies make it a "target-rich environment" for Chinese nationals seeking to steal intellectual property.

Lelling cited one recent case brought by his office. Wellesley resident Shuren Qin was charged last year with conspiring to illegally export U.S.-made devices used in anti-submarine warfare for a Chinese military research institute.