Image credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

October 25, 2020

The PLAʼs Unlikely Wingman

Featuring Elsa B. Kania

Source: The Wire China

Journalists Eli Binder, Katrina Northrop

In May of this year, an 84-year-old inmate in a North Carolina federal prison died from Covid-19. Dongfan Greg Chungʼs death barely registered on the local news, but Chung held a unique status in U.S. judicial history: in 2009, he became the first person to ever be convicted of economic espionage.

Born in Liaoning Province, Chung fled with his family to Taiwan when he was 10 years old during the Chinese Civil War. He moved to the U.S. in the 1960s, becoming a citizen and settling down in Orange County, California, with his wife and two sons. He worked as an aerospace engineer for Rockwell International, and the unit he worked for was bought by Boeing in 1996. His life appeared relatively simple until one day in 1985 when a letter from a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) arrived, inviting him to visit China. AVIC makes the Peopleʼs Liberation Armyʼs fighter jets, and the subsidiary wanted Chung to discuss a range of topics, including aircraft fatigue design and helicopter rotors. Chung eagerly said yes.

Read the full story and more from The Wire China.


  • Elsa B. Kania

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Elsa B. Kania is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. Her research focuses on Chinese military...