China criticized the conviction of Chinese intelligence officer Yanjun Xu on Monday, days after he was found guilty of attempting to steal trade secrets from General Electric and other U.S. aviation firms following a lengthy FBI investigation.
U.S. federal officials said Yanjun Xu, a 41-year-old Chinese national, is a spy for China’s Ministry of State Security. He was the first Chinese intelligence officer ever to be extradited to the United States to stand trial.
"The allegation is pure fabrication," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during a press conference, according to Reuters.
"We demand that the U.S. handle the case according to the law and in a just manner to ensure the rights and interests of the Chinese citizen," the spokesperson added.
Xu was found guilty of several criminal charges last week, including conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and attempting to steal trade secrets.
According to court documents, he used aliases as part of a years-long effort to steal proprietary information from leading aviation firms in the U.S. and abroad. Prosecutors said he attempted to recruit aviation experts to travel to China under the pretext that they were invited to deliver presentations at local universities.
At one point, Yanjun Xu attempted to convince a General Electric Aviation employee to provide information about the company’s composite aircraft engine fan.
Xu was arrested in Belgium in 2018 and extradited to the United States. He faces decades in prison and more than $5 million in fines following his conviction.