China rejects 'cooked-up' spying report
May 24, 1999
BEIJING (CNN) -- The Chinese government has vehemently denied charges it worked to steal U.S. nuclear secrets and missile technology, calling them "cooked-up" accusations designed to shift attention from NATO's bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia.
A U.S. House Select Committee report, due to be released Tuesday, claims Beijing has been stealing sensitive military secrets "for several decades" and that the Clinton administration was woefully slow to respond after the security breach was exposed.
China said the report was just another example of how some U.S. politicians are out to get China.
"Some people in the United States have intensified the cooked-up case of China's theft of U.S. nuclear technology and that of political contributions," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao. "They are totally driven by ulterior motives with the real purpose of encouraging the China threat theory and inciting anti-China sentiment, and shifting the people's attention from the embassy bombing case."
NATO missiles struck the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 7, killing three Chinese journalists and injuring 20 others. NATO said it mistakenly targeted the embassy because of outdated maps.
The bombing sparked widespread protests in China, with many Chinese accusing the United States of intentionally striking the embassy. Beijing responded by banning U.S. warships from visiting Hong Kong, cut off most military exchanges and halted talks on human rights.
Many diplomats fear the House report will strain even further the deteriorating relationship between the United States and China.
"I'm fairly pessimistic about Sino-U.S. relations because I think both sides are concentrating almost entirely on their domestic political constituencies," said James Mulvenon of the RAND Corp.
Analysts predict the report will strengthen opponents of Clinton's policy of engagement with China, while weakening moderates in Beijing like Premier Zhu Rongji amid a tide of Chinese nationalism.
The nationalist sentiment has filled headlines and state television programs, where soldiers vow to improve their military technology to prevent China from being "bullied" in the future.
Beijing Bureau Chief Rebecca MacKinnon contributed to this report
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Chinese Embassy to the U.S.
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