Woman sentenced for U.S. military sales to China


BOSTON (Reuters) – A woman who managed a Massachusetts electronics company was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison for conspiring over 10 years to export U.S. military equipment to China, U.S. authorities said.

Yufeng Wei, 46, of Belmont, Massachusetts, was convicted in 2010 of illegally exporting various goods to China, including parts on the U.S. munitions list and export-restricted technology and electronics, and for filing false shipping documents with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The illegally exported parts were “precisely the items … that the People’s Liberation Army actively seeks to acquire,” according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Waltham, Massachusetts company Wei managed, Chitron

Electronics Inc, known as Chitron-US, was fined $15.5 million.

On Wednesday, Chinese national Zhen Zhou Wu, Chitron’s owner and Wei’s ex-husband, was sentenced to 97 months in prison for his role in the export conspiracy.

The defendants’ enterprise involved the use of Chitron-US as a front company for its parent, Chitron Electronics Co Ltd, headquartered in Shenzhen, China, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Wei procured export-restricted equipment from U.S. suppliers and exported them to China through Hong Kong. The equipment is used in electronic warfare, military radar, fire control, military guidance and control equipment, missile systems, and satellite communications, the DOJ said.

Chitron marketed electronics to Chinese military factories and military research institutes.

The sentences for Wei and Wu follow two other security cases involving China, just days after the high-profile visit to the United States of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

On January 21, Glenn Shriver of Michigan was sentenced to four years in prison for trying to get a job with the CIA so he could spy for China.

Separately, on January 25, a former Northrup Grumman Corp engineer was sentenced to 32 years in prison for providing secret defense information to China, among other crimes.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny, Editing by Eric Walsh)

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