China’s Program to Steal American Trade Secrets

Chinese nationalist Dr. Shannon You was caught stealing $120 million worth of American company trade secrets while she worked for the Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta, Georgia. Her story exposes how the Chinese government incentivizes nationalists living abroad to steal technology from other nations and commit corporate espionage, Bloomberg reported on May 10.

Dr. You worked as the Principal Engineer of Global Research for Coca-Cola and was given access to chemical formulas for the coating that lines the inside of Coca-Cola cans. These coating formulas are owned and produced by seven major American companies, including Akzo-Nobel, basf, Dow Chemical and Sherwin Williams.

During her final night working for Coca-Cola in August 2017, Dr. You stole formulas worth $120 million, intending to use them to start her own coating company in China.

Thousand Talents: To fund her business, Dr. You applied for China’s Thousand Talents government grant program. The program is designed to incentivize nationalists living overseas to return to China and start their own businesses using the education they gained from working abroad. It offers entrepreneurs with research packages, start-up funds and internationally competitive salaries for their companies. The grants also encourage espionage and intellectual property theft.

In her application, Dr. You requested millions of dollars to start a business to “build the first [bisphenol A non-intent] coating product line in China,” using the formulas she stole while working at Coca-Cola.

On May 9, 2022, a United States Federal District Court sentenced Dr. You to 14 years in prison based on five charges associated with her application to Thousand Talents:

  • Conspiracy to commit trade secret theft
  • Conspiracy to commit economic espionage
  • Possession of stolen trade secrets
  • Economic espionage
  • Wire fraud

When companies invest huge amounts of time and money to develop world-class technologies, only to have those technologies stolen, the results are devastating. Here, the defendant intended not only to enrich herself and her China-based partners, but also the government of China. Crimes like the defendant’s threaten both victim companies and the economic security of the nation as a whole. This case should serve as a warning to those entrusted with valuable trade secrets: If you break the law, you will be punished.
—Kenneth A. Polite Jr., assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division

The Bible says: Deuteronomy 28 lists specific ways God promises to curse the nations of Israel—which includes the modern-day U.S.— if the people reject Him. One of these curses is: “The fruit of your land, and all your labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed always” (Deuteronomy 28:33). China’s government programs that sponsor the systematic theft of U.S. intellectual property should cause the nation to think deeply about this prophecy and where our nation is headed.

Learn more: Read “Chinese Theft of American Trade Secrets Is Fulfilling Bible Prophecy.”