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How Belgium Became Europe’s Den of Spies and a Gateway for China

China’s national flag flies during an EU-China summit in Brussels, on April 9, 2019.
China’s national flag flies during an EU-China summit in Brussels, on April 9, 2019.Photographer: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg

When a suspected Chinese spy was extradited to the U.S. last year, the Department of Justice praised the “significant assistance” given by authorities in Belgium.

Xu Yanjun was arrested in Belgium after going there to meet a contact “for the purpose of discussing and receiving the sensitive information he had requested,” according to the U.S. indictment. Xu was charged with attempting to commit economic espionage, with GE Aviation the main target. The case is pending.