A Tennessee federal jury recently convicted a U.S. citizen of conspiracy to steal trade secrets, economic espionage and wire fraud.
Dr. Xiaorong You, aka Shannon You, 59, of Lansing, Michigan, was convicted following a 12-day trial for stealing Coca-Cola's valuable trade secrets and selling them to China while working for Coca-Cola.
You received millions of dollars in Chinese government grants, including a Thousand Talents Program awards, to set up and support a BPA-free coating company in China, all while employed by Coca-Cola. The Thousand Talents Program was reportedly started by China in 2008 allegedly to entice U.S. scientists and researchers to improperly hand over U.S. research and other intellectual property.
Relationships among U.S. academics, academic institutions and industry, and China have come under scrutiny with China's reported theft of American intellectual property. Investigators say the Chinese government deploys numerous tactics to steal valuable research and other information, often material funded at U.S. taxpayer expense. The tactics include recruiting or using academics and students at American universities.
Just over a year ago, the head of Harvard University's chemistry department was arrested on charges related to his alleged ties to China's communist government. Charles Lieber, 60, was accused of lying to the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health about his participation in China's Thousand Talents Program. Lieber was indicted on the charges in June 2020.
You is scheduled to be sentenced on November 1st.