Fri, Nov 28, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Chinese `spy' really was, US finds

CAUSE CELEBRE TO FELON A woman detained by China in 2001 on charges of spying for Taiwan now faces prison in the US for selling microprocessors

REUTERS AND AFP , WASHINGTON

A Chinese-born US resident, defended by Washington two years ago when she was jailed in China on espionage charges, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to illegally selling US technology to China.

Gao Zhan (高瞻) pleaded guilty in the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, to unlawfully exporting a controlled item and making a false tax return, court documents showed. The US Attorney's office said she sold Beijing microprocessors with possible military use.

The charge covered a transaction in October 2000, three months before Gao was arrested in China and accused of spying for Taiwan.

Human rights groups and US officials took up Gao's case in 2001 after she was detained on entering China and held for five months on charges of spying for Taiwan. Sentenced to 10 years in jail by a Chinese court, she was released on July 26, 2001, just days before a visit to Beijing by US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The US Attorney Paul McNulty said Gao used the name "Gail Heights" in trying to order controlled items saying they were for research work at a northern Virginia university.

She received wire transfers from China including from the China National Electronics Import & Export Corp which has known connections to the Chinese military, McNulty said.

The items sold to China were on a list that required authorization from the US Department of Commerce to export, court documents said.

In July 2000, Gao agreed to sell 80 Military Intel486 DX2 microprocessors to Incom Import & Export Company, knowing the items were on the Commerce Department's control list, McNulty said.

"These computers are used on aircraft for navigation, digital flight control, weapons fire control, radar data processing, and airborne battle management systems," a statement from McNulty's office said.

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