Mar 9, 2019

1 big read: Cracking a Chinese spy case

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In October, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) operative Yanjun Xu for allegedly attempting to commit economic espionage and steal trade secrets from multiple U.S. aviation and aerospace companies.

What's happening: Xu is awaiting trial in U.S. custody, after he had been lured to Belgium, arrested, and then extradited to the U.S. One of his targets was reportedly GE Aviation, and this week local Cincinnati WCPO provided new details on the case in their report...

[UNSUPPORTED BLOCK TYPE: blockquote]

[UNSUPPORTED BLOCK TYPE: blockquote]

[UNSUPPORTED BLOCK TYPE: blockquote]

Why it matters: Xi's exhortations to achieve "self-reliance" and "control core technologies" increase the pressure on the PRC bureaucracy to work even harder to obtain those core technologies by any means necessary.

The other side: At the same time, the DOJ under Trump has more aggressively publicized these cases and for the first time extradited a serving MSS operative to the U.S. Regardless of what happens with the trade negotiations, this is an area where U.S.-China tensions look set to increase markedly.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Axios Dashboard

Keep up with breaking news throughout the day — sign up for our alerts.

What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Colorado. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his opponents are ready to try to knock him down at tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina — especially Michael Bloomberg, who was the punching bag at the Las Vegas debate.

Why it matters: This is the last debate before Super Tuesday, when Sanders is expected to win California and Texas and could secure an insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination. That's a direct threat to the entire field, but especially to Bloomberg, who skipped the early states to focus on the March 3 contests.

Bob Iger to step down as CEO of Disney

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that it had named longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek as CEO Bob Iger's successor, effectively immediately. Iger will remain executive chairman of the company through 2021.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses and with the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Most recently, he was the person behind Disney's successful launch of its Netflix rival Disney+.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business