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Chinese-American Pleads Guilty to Illegally Selling High-Tech Weapons Parts to China - 2003-11-26

A Chinese-born U.S. resident has pleaded guilty to illegally selling high-tech equipment to China that can be used in weapons systems.

In federal court in the U.S. state of Virginia Wednesday, academic Gao Zhan pleaded guilty to the unlawful export of high-tech items to China and tax evasion.

U.S. officials say over the course of four years, from 1998 through 2001, Ms. Gao sold $1.5 million worth of microprocessors and other items to China. The microprocessors have commercial uses, but they are on a list of items that require U.S. government authorization to export.

Ms. Gao also pleaded guilty to not reporting most of the income on her tax returns.

Prosecutors say they will ask for a reduced sentence because she has been helping the U.S. government identify Chinese officials who are seeking to import sensitive American goods. In 2001, Chinese authorities arrested Ms. Gao in China and convicted her of spying for arch-rival Taiwan. After five months in jail, she was released under intense pressure from the U.S. government, just days before Secretary of State Colin Powell was due to visit Beijing.