Six Chinese nationals, including three professors who earned advanced degrees from the University of Southern California, have been been charged with economic espionage in the United States.
Federal prosecutors have charged Zhang Huisui, Pang Wei, Zhang Hao and their associates with conspiring to steal source code and other proprietary information from chipmakers Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Avago technologies soon after graduating from USC in 2006.
Tianjin University professor Zhang Hao, formerly an employee at Woburn, Massachusetts-based Skyworks, was arrested upon entry into the United States on Saturday. The others are believed to still be in China.
Zhang and others used secrets stolen from the US firms to establish a company at Tianjin University called ROFS Microsystems. The remaining three defendants have been identified as as Chen Jinping, 41, professor and member of the board of directors for ROFS Microsystems; Chong Zhou, 26, a Tianjin University graduate student and design engineer at ROFS Microsystems; and Zhao Gang, 39, the general manager of ROFS Microsystems.
This is the third time in as many years that US authorities have made accusations of economic espionage conducted on China's behalf. If convicted, the defendants could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.
[Image via Oriental Daily]