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Chinese Professor Gets 18 Months in Prison for Theft, Espionage

  • Hao Zhang conspired with colleague from USC, prosecutors said
  • Arrested in 2015, he presented a ‘damage control’ defense
Hao Zhang, right, arrives at federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Oct. 2, 2019.

Hao Zhang, right, arrives at federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Oct. 2, 2019.

Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg

A Chinese professor was sentenced to 18 months in U.S. prison after he was convicted of trade-secret theft and economic espionage, capping a seven-year prosecution.

Hao Zhang was charged in 2015 in a crackdown on Chinese theft of intellectual property that began under former President Barack Obama and has continued under the Trump administration with aggressive targeting of Chinese scientists and academics doing research in the U.S. Five other Chinese citizens indicted alongside Zhang were never arrested.