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Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Wednesday unsealed charges against a Chinese intelligence official for allegedly stealing trade secrets and sensitive information from GE Aviation and other companies.

Why it matters: This marks the first time a Chinese spy has been brought to the country to face prosecution. John Demers, the head of the DOJ’s national-security division, said the “case is not an isolated incident. It is part of an overall economic policy of developing China at American expense.”

The details: The man has been identified as Yanjun Xu, a deputy division director in China’s Ministry of State Security. The DOJ alleged that, from 2013, Xu targeted companies both in and out of the U.S. in the aviation field to obtain sensitive and proprietary information.

  • Officials said Xu allegedly recruited experts to travel to China under the guise of asking them to deliver a university presentation.
  • Xu was arrested in April by Belgian authorities and extradited to the U.S. on Tuesday.

The backdrop: For years, China has used spies and cyberattacks to steal troves of academic, corporate and military information it could use to bolster its growing political and economic power. Just last week, Vice President Mike Pence accused China of using spies, its economic power and propaganda prowess to undermine the U.S. and influence domestic politics.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

6 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

12 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.