The U.S. federal government has prosecuted nearly 60 individuals since 2008 related to the transfer of U.S.-based information to China, according to report.

A total of 57 defendants since 2008 have been charged by prosecutors with espionage conspiracies with China or efforts to pass classified information, technology or trade secrets to intelligence operatives, state-sponsored entities, private individuals or businesses in China, according to a review of U.S. Justice Department cases from the Associated Press released on Saturday

Nine of those cases are awaiting trial and two are considered fugitives. The rest have been convicted although some are yet to be sentenced

China, ever more powerful, has become a major instigator of espionage in the United States, the Associated Press said in an editor's note. The report is part of a series on Beijing's efforts to steal American secrets and technology.