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Vox Sentences: China plays a game of I Spy

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A Chinese spy is caught in Chicago; Ebola hits the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Authorities arrest a foreign resident for spying on behalf of the Chinese government

Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images
  • Chinese citizen and former US Army Reservist Ji Chaoqun was arrested in Chicago on Tuesday for acting as an illegal foreign agent on behalf of the Chinese government. [NPR / Scott Neuman]
  • Authorities allege Ji tried to recruit eight scientists and engineers working for cleared US defense contractors between August 2013 and September 2018. [United States District Court]
  • After earning a master’s degree at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2016, Ji began working for the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), a specialty program designed to allow foreign residents to serve for the US Army Reserves. Authorities say Ji failed to disclose that he was in contact with a foreign government or its representatives when he applied for the program. [USA Today / Ashley May]
  • There, the contractors report he began trying to recruit them to become informants for the Chinese government. [BBC]
  • The FBI also arrested Ji’s handler from China’s Ministry of State Security. Some say that arresting the unnamed intelligence officer is intended to send a message to China that the US is “keenly focused on its activities” in the country. [AP]
  • MAVNI was shut down in 2017, and the US began expelling its officers ”unfairly on specious security grounds,” but there’s no indication that this is currently the case for Ji. [NYT / Dave Phillips]

An Ebola outbreak paralyzes the DRC

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo is currently battling an aggressive Ebola outbreak that the World Health Organization reports has so far killed over 100 people and infected 150 more in the North Kivu region. The WHO fears that efforts to contain the outbreak have been hindered by the country’s political unrest. [HuffPost / Lauren Weber]
  • Containment efforts halted on Monday after a rebel group called the Allied Democratic Forces attacked various villages in North Kivu and killed 21 people. Experts note that containing the virus has been particularly difficult because it has broken out in the DRC’s most violent region. [Guardian / Jason Burke and Ignatius Ssuuna]
  • The Congo health ministry allowed health workers to continue containment efforts and treatment on Wednesday after they properly explained “the gravity of the epidemic” to civil society. [AP]
  • The “seventh-largest outbreak in Ebola history” was declared on August 1. The WHO warns that the environment in which the outbreak has come to fruition is a “perfect storm” for disaster. They fear the virus could potentially spread to “no go” zones and across the DRC’s borders to other countries. [Vox / Julia Belluz]


  • Led Zeppelin may soon launch a music streaming service in the honor of the band’s 50th anniversary, according to new trademark documents. [The Verge / Jon Porter]
  • A SoundCloud rapper known as Lil Xan was hospitalized on Monday because he says he ate “too many Hot Cheetos” and began throwing up “a little blood.” [Grub Street / Nikita Richardson]
  • New details have emerged in a bizarre case last year in which a group of fervently religious Jehovah’s Witnesses kidnapped a neighboring family because they were trying to save them from the fast-approaching apocalypse, which is supposed to go down on November 6. The group of five were quickly caught by police, who said they “displayed extreme strength” and were “unaffected” by pepper spray and Tasers. [Canadian Press / Chris Purdy]
  • Dunkin’ Donuts is dropping the “Donuts” to put “the company on a first-name basis with customers.” The fast-food chain touted on Twitter that it will now have “#BFFStatus with you all.” [Delish / Tess Koman]


“I feel that I understand a little bit — this is a man who was traumatized as a child by his father, who had a mother that didn’t protect him. And the behavior is the language of the wounded.” [Actress and activist Jane Fonda on why she feels a “radical kinship” to President Donald Trump / Politico]

Watch this: How marketers target your nose

The quiet but powerful industry of scent branding. [YouTube / Kimberly Mas]

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