ad info

 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards




Highlights of U.S. report on alleged China spying


May 25, 1999
Web posted at: 2:29 p.m. EDT (1829 GMT)

In this story:

Nuclear secrets and the neutron bomb

Satellites and U.S. companies

U.S. campaign donations to curry favor


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Over a 20-year period, China has stolen secret data on every weapon currently deployed in the U.S. nuclear arsenal and is most likely still doing so despite tighter security measures imposed at nuclear labs since last fall, a long-awaited congressional report said Tuesday.

The bipartisan report on alleged Chinese spying was approved unanimously by the nine members of a special House committee chaired by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-California).

Here are the report's highlights:

Nuclear secrets and the neutron bomb

  • China obtained secret information on nuclear warheads and the neutron bomb in two decades of concerted espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories. The stolen information includes classified information on seven U.S. thermonuclear warheads, including every currently deployed thermonuclear warhead in the U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal.

    These include the W-88 Trident D-5 thermonuclear warhead, the W-56 Minuteman II, the W-62 Minuteman III, the W-70 Lance, the W-76 Trident C-4, the W-78 Minuteman III Mark 12A, and the W-87 Peacekeeper thermonuclear warheads.

  • Beijing used a "mosaic" approach to gather U.S. nuclear weapons secrets, combining spying and legitimate research in which small pieces of information were collected by many individuals and pieced together in China.

  • China may have acquired classified U.S. nuclear weapons computer codes which could help in weapon design and adaptation.

  • The U.S. nuclear warhead information is expected to surface in mobile ballistic missile systems that China is developing. The report says the stolen classified information saved China years of effort and resources in developing its new modern nuclear warheads.

  • The full extent of U.S. information acquired by China was unclear but it occurred through the presidencies of Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republicans Ronald Reagan and George Bush and the current administration of Democrat Bill Clinton.

  • Espionage "played a central part" in the theft of information. "In several cases, (China) identified lab employees, invited them to (China), and approached them for help, sometimes playing upon ethnic ties to recruit individuals."

  • Chinese scientists used laboratory-to-laboratory contacts with the United States to gain information from U.S. scientists on common problems and solutions.

Satellites and U.S. companies

  • China likely took advantage of security lapses to obtain information on U.S. satellites launched in China. Hughes Electronics Corp. and Loral Space Communications Ltd. failed to abide by the requirements of U.S. law governing the export of technology and the use of Chinese rockets to launch U.S. satellites.

  • U.S. companies may not be aware of the extent of China's spying on American technology and many are "generally unprepared for the reality of doing business in the PRC (People's Republic of China)."

    More than 3,000 Chinese corporations, some with links to China's army, operate in the United States. China uses front companies to buy technology and blur the end-use.

  • Relying on corporate self-policing to protect against the transfer of sensitive technology has failed.

U.S. campaign donations to curry favor

  • A network of relatives of China's top leaders exploited commercial and political connections to obtain new military technology for China and used campaign donations to curry influence.

  • A $300,000 donation funneled by Liu Chaoying, the daughter of China's retired senior military officer and a lieutenant colonel in the People's Liberation Army, from Chinese military officials to Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung in 1996 was meant to help position them to acquire U.S. computer, missile and satellite technologies.

  • Wang Jun, son of the late Chinese President Wang Zhen, who is chairman of the China International Trade and Investment Company and president of Polytechnologies Corp., attended a White House coffee with Clinton in February 1996 and was granted a meeting with Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown the next day.

    He also was connected to more than $600,000 in illegal campaign contributions to the Democrats, the report said. Polytechnologies is an arms-trading company indicted for trying to smuggle 2,000 Chinese AK-47 assault rifles into the United States and the largest of the corporate structures owned by the People's Liberation Army.

  • John Huang, a key figure in the campaign finance scandal whose trade position in the Commerce Department offered him access to classified intelligence on China, met with Chinese Embassy officials in Washington at least nine times, although the topic of their discussions was not known.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Report: Stolen data gives China advanced nuclear know-how
May 24, 1999
Shelby: Reno should resign over China espionage probe
May 23, 1999
Report: China benefited from stolen nuclear secrets
May 20, 1999
Congressman calls alleged Chinese spying 'grave'
May 16, 1999
Sources: Report finds China stole 'sensitive' nuclear data
May 14, 1999
Reno defends computer-search caution in Los Alamos case
May 13, 1999
Senate spotlights nuclear security lapses
May 12, 1999
U.S. State Department issues travel warning for China
May 10, 1999

Hughes Electronics
Office of the Director of Central Intelligence
Loral Space & Communications.
Chinese Embassy to the U.S.
Office of the Director of Central Intelligence
Consulate General of the People's Republic of China
China Today
Department of Energy
Department of Justice
  • Attorney General Janet Reno
The White House
  • National Security Council
  • Biography of Samuel Berger
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.