In 2019, the US began a probe into Chinese company Huawei for stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile and committing bank fraud by breaking sanctions and doing business with Iran. The company has been in US crosshairs since former President Trump’s administration, as the government was concerned it could pass sensitive information to China through its communications networks.
On Monday, the US Department of Justice announced charges against two Chinese spies for interfering in the Huawei investigation. Guochun He and Zheng Wang allegedly bribed a US law enforcement official multiple times for confidential information about the case. The US says they paid the FBI double agent around US$61,000 in Bitcoin.
During the announcement, a total of 13 indictments across three unrelated cases were detailed concerning suspected Chinese intelligence operatives. In the past week, the US charged 11 other individuals for covert actions on behalf of the PRC. One of the cases involved harassing a Chinese American to return to China in something called “Operation Fox Hunt,” and another involved spies posing as academics to recruit law enforcement and others to help get their hands on fingerprint tech.
“Attacking Huawei will not help the US stay ahead of the competition,” the company said in a 2020 statement.
“China seeks to be a major power on the world stage and challenge the United States in multiple arenas. Today’s cases make clear that Chinese agents will not hesitate to break the law and to violate international norms in the process,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on Monday.
“The government of China sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the United States and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights,” Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters, adding, “They did not succeed.”