One of the top executives at the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) is under investigation for allegedly selling secrets about the Liaoning aircraft carrier to US intelligence operatives, according to a new report.
CSIC general manager Sun Bo is the subject of a new criminal investigation for potential “gross violation of laws and party discipline,” the Asia Times reported Thursday. The Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervision Commission posted a one-line announcement on June 18 alerting the public that the senior executive was under investigation.
Sun allegedly passed along classified information to the US’ Central Intelligence Agency regarding the Liaoning’s design and specifications following years of modifications of the Soviet-constructed ship that took place at CSIC’s Dalian shipyard. Since the design of China’s first domestically-built carrier, the Type 001A, is derived significantly from the Liaoning in terms of design, multiple Chinese outlets have questioned if Sun also gave the CIA drawings about the Type 001A.
According to the ATimes, Sun holds a PhD in vessel construction and design from the Dalian University of Technology. The executive, aged 57, “spent most of his career heading the Dalian Shipyard when the Liaoning was being rebuilt there,” according to the outlet.
The Liaoning, then known as Varyag, arrived in Dalian in March 2002. It completed sea trials with the PLA-N in September 2012, rechristened as Liaoning.
CSIC said on WeChat Wednesday that company president Hu Wenming had emphasized the “paramount urgency to stay loyal to the party and fend off infiltration as well as graft” during a company meeting.
Last month, the US Justice Department charged a CIA officer with having spied for China and aided the Chinese government. Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, allegedly gave Chinese intel officers “classified information, including but not limited to names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees.” The Chinese government reportedly conducted a “systematic dismantling” of the undercover American spy network in China, starting in 2010, Axios reported in January.
“Lee was at the center of a mole hunt in which some intelligence officials believed that he had betrayed the United States, but others thought that the Chinese government had hacked the CIA’s covert communications used to talk to foreign sources of information,” the New York Times reported earlier this year.