Sailor’s Mother Encouraged Sell Secrets To China

( – The mother of Jinchao Wei, one of the Navy sailors accused of providing sensitive information to China, allegedly encouraged him to cooperate with a Chinese intelligence officer, telling him it could help him get a job in Beijing, the Associated Press reported.

During a hearing in a San Diego federal court last Tuesday, Assistant US Attorney Fred Shephard revealed the mother’s encouragement when requesting that the judge not release Wei, who was arrested last week and charged under the Espionage Act.

Jinchao Wei is one of two Navy sailors stationed in California who is accused of providing military information to the Chinese, including details on naval operations, wartime exercises, and technical material. Prosecutors have not revealed if the sailors were approached or paid by the same intelligence officer as part of a broader scheme.

The Justice Department charged the 22-year-old Wei under the Espionage Act statute making it a crime to collect or provide information in aid of a foreign government. Both sailors pleaded not guilty.

According to prosecutors, the Chinese-born Wei was initially approached in February 2022 when he was applying for US citizenship. Wei allegedly admitted to the Chinese intelligence officer that he knew providing documents would affect his application. Despite this, Wei gave the intelligence officer detailed information on aircraft and weapons systems aboard the Essex and other assault ships acting as small aircraft carriers.

According to AUSA Sheppard, when Wei visited his mother in Wisconsin for Christmas, she encouraged him to continue helping the intelligence officer. His mother suggested that it could help him secure a job with the CCP once he leaves the Navy.

Sheppard told the court that Wei was told by the officer that the Chinese government was willing to fly both him and his mother to China for a meeting. Subsequently, this spring, Wei searched for flights to China online.

According to Sheppard, the intelligence officer instructed Wei to buy a computer and phone to pass on the information and said Beijing would reimburse him.

In last Tuesday’s hearing, Wei’s defense attorney told the judge that his client no longer has access to sensitive military information and is not a danger to the community.

However, the judge ruled to hold Wei in federal custody without bond.

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