Despite a lot of official denials, it seems pretty clear the Chinese have no qualms about stealing as much intellectual property as they can get their hands on.

On Friday, the Department of Justice announced that one Gregg William Bergersen of Alexandria, Virginia was sentenced to 57 months in prison (plus three years of supervised release) for disclosing secret information to a naturalized American citizen of Chinese descent (Tai Shen Kuo), who was then providing it to the People’s Republic of China.

In his day job, Gregg Bergersen was a Department of Defense Analyst.

Kuo provided Bergersen with gifts, cash payments, dinners and gambling money in exchange for the information. The information involving military sales to Taiwan was then passed to Kuo’s handler, an official of the People’s Republic of China.

The official DOJ press release states that Bergersen didn’t know the information was going to China. It would be interesting to discover, who he thought it was going to?

Kuo, who was found guilty on May 13th, is currently awaiting sentencing on August 8th and faces life in prison.

On May 28th, Yu Xin Kang, also of New Orleans pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting an unregistered agent of the People’s Republic of China. According to court documents, Kang sometimes assisted Kuo in providing the stolen information to the unnamed foreign official. Kang faces ten years in prison.

Last year, another naturalized American citizen of Chinese descent, Chi Mak, was convicted of selling sensitive defense technology to China. This case was a family affair and Mak’s sister in law and brother were caught by the FBI trying to board a plane to China with three encrypted CD’s containing the stolen information.

The FBI site covered the Bergersen/Kuo case and another one involving a Boeing engineer, Dongfan “Greg” Chung, in a recent press release. Allegedly Chung was tied into the Mak case and sold information on the Space Shuttle and military aircraft to the People’s Republic of China.

Although, the government isn’t commenting much there is speculation that they are investigating information being stolen from Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez’s laptop during a recent visit to China. It is alleged that this information was used to hack into government computers.

Hacking incidents traced to the Chinese, although always denied by the PRC, have been reported all over North America, Europe and even Asia. A good place to learn about Chinese hacking activity is a site (maintained by a former DOD official) called The Dark Visitor (Information on Chinese Hacking) .

The Chinese are also suspected (in a lot of instances) of stealing corporate information. According to sources within the technology industry, it isn’t recommended to carry laptops or other personal data storage devices when travelling in China.

On a personal note, I believe a lot of this is enabled by our free trade agreement with the People’s Republic of China. While this agreement is lucrative for a few corporate entities — the wholesale theft of intellectual property, counterfeiting, unsafe and defective products, as well as, all the human rights violations in China call for taking a hard and educated look at what is going on.

The problem is will special interests – who represent the corporate entities making a lot of money from this – prevent our leadership in Washington from taking effective action against what is becoming an alarming issue?

If you suspect anyone of selling government secrets, you can report them to the FBI by submitting an anonymous tip online.

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