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Entries in China (8)

Thursday
May242012

Army Staff Sgt. Charged with Heading International Gun Trafficking Ring

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A National Guardsman and two Chinese nationals have been charged with running an international gun trafficking ring.  

Joe Debose, an Army Staff Sgt. from North Carolina, has been charged with the illegal dealing of pistols, rifles and military-style assault weapons.

Court records say he supplied two Chinese nationals based in New York with guns and prosecutors say the men "ran a pipeline of illegal firearms from the U.S. to China" for nearly two years, but were caught when police in Shanghai intercepted a package containing several firearms hidden inside stereo speakers.

Court records say the serial numbers had been defaced but were eventually traced to Debose.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr112012

Two USC Students from China Shot, Killed Near Campus

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A shooting at the University of Southern California early Wednesday morning left two international students dead.

Ying Wu and Ming Qu, both graduate students in their 20s, were shot at 1 a.m. while sitting in a BMW near campus.

Wu was shot through the front passenger seat of the car.  Qu ran for help but collapsed and was found on a nearby porch, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed. The car had several bullet holes and the driver’s side window was shattered.

Both students were transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.

One theory is that the incident was a possible carjacking gone wrong, but it is still under investigation.

“They have no motive, nothing is determined yet,” said Officer Christian Lata of the LAPD.  “Detectives are still casing the area; they don’t have suspects or any descriptions.”

There are no reliable witnesses, and detectives are looking into businesses that could have different video angles, said Lata.

“Our community is saddened and outraged by this callous and meaningless act,” said USC officials in a letter to the USC community.  “Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims’ families and friends and all who knew them at USC.”

The shooting occurred in an area where security has been increased over the past several years, the statement said.

Both students were international students from China studying electrical engineering, according to USC.  The university is offering counseling.

If anyone has information about the information, the LAPD can be reached at 877-LAPD-24-7 or 877-527-3247.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep292011

US Consulate Guard Charged with Trying to Pass Defense Info to China

George Doyle/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A former guard who worked for the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong has been charged with attempting to pass national defense information to the Chinese government.

Bryan Underwood, a former U.S. Marine who worked as a contract guard at the consulate, allegedly tried to pass photographs and other national defense information to the Chinese government since March 2011.

Underwood, 31, was initially charged with making false statements to the FBI, according to an indictment sealed on Aug. 31.  According to that indictment,  “Underwood, did knowingly and willfully make a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation...to an FBI representative that he was intending to assist the FBI when he wrote a letter stating his ‘interest in initiating a business arrangement’ with a certain entity, when in truth and in fact the defendant knew at the time he made the statement that it was false.”

He was initially arrested on Sept. 1 and pleaded not guilty before Judge John Facciola.  Underwood was released from custody under his own personal recognizance but failed to appear at his next court hearing on Sept. 21.  The FBI subsequently located Underwood in Los Angeles and arrested him Saturday.

Underwood was charged in a superseding indictment -- unsealed Wednesday -- with allegedly trying to pass photographs and other defense information to the Chinese government.  According to U.S. officials, he allegedly reached out to the Chinese while he was in China.  One source alleged that Underwood might have been trying to provide bugging locations where Chinese officials could monitor conversations at the U.S. consulate.

It is unknown how much money Underwood allegedly was seeking from China for the photos.  Calls to his attorney in the federal public defenders office were not returned.

A court appearance will be set at a later date.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul172011

Despite China’s Objection, Obama Meets with Dalai Lama 

PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama met with the Dalai Lama Saturday at the White House, despite objections from China.   

Just like last year, the Dalai Lama came in and exited the White House through a door that is not accessible to reporters or cameras.

The meeting took place in the Map Room on the ground floor, rather than the Oval Office. No president has ever welcomed the Dalai Lama to the Oval Office due to protocol that only political leaders meet with the president there.

The Tibetan leader, in Washington for a Buddhist ritual, celebrated his 76th birthday on Wednesday.  

There were questions about whether Obama would meet with the spiritual leader given China’s objections to his visiting the White House.

The White House says the president reiterated his strong support for the preservation of traditions of Tibet and the Tibetan people throughout the world. Representatives also said the Dalai Lama told Obama that he is not seeking independence for Tibet and hopes that talks between his representatives and the Chinese government resume.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jul092011

Space Shuttle Chases International Space Station as NASA Eyes Russia and China

PRNewsFoto/NASA(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- Everything the astronauts of space shuttle Atlantis do, they do for the last time in the program's history.

They spent Saturday slowly inspecting the heat shield tiles on the belly and wings of their orbiter. On Sunday, they are scheduled to dock with the International Space Station.

The astronauts were settling in and getting their space legs after Friday's launch -- a spectacular sight to the estimated one million people who crowded around the space center to see it happen.

But it may be the last time America launches its own astronauts for many years. At the Kennedy Space Center, throngs of people applauded, cheered -- and in some cases wept. This part of Florida has lived in large part for space shuttle launches, and there is not a clear plan for what comes next.

Atlantis' mission sounds fairly mundane: it is carrying a year's worth of preserved food, clothing spare parts and other supplies for the station's six crew members. It is scheduled to land on July 20 at 7:06 a.m., ET, though NASA will give the astronauts an extra day if they can conserve enough fuel and power.

For several years, American astronauts will probably have to rely on the Russian space program, with its Soyuz capsules, to get to the space station. NASA is also keeping an eye on the Chinese, who have a small and slow -- but methodically planned -- program of their own.

They talk of building a small space station and eventually going to the moon.

Some people at NASA quietly say they hope the Chinese succeed -- and give the U.S. a healthy kick in the pants. There would be nothing like a rekindling of the 1960s space race, they say, to get Americans interested in a more aggressive space program.

But that is not said publicly. If anything, America talks of collaborating with other countries if explorers are ever to reach out beyond Earth orbit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May242011

Pakistan Returns Secret US Helicopter Wreckage

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The wreckage of the secret stealth helicopter that was abandoned by U.S. Navy SEALs during the mission to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan is back in U.S. government hands, a Pentagon official said Tuesday.

The Pakistani government, which has held on to the remains of what experts believed to be a highly modified Black Hawk helicopter since the May 2 raid, returned "what's left of the whole thing" including a large tail section to U.S. officials over the weekend, said Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman. The helicopter is being held in an undisclosed location.

The helicopter made a hard landing after it clipped a wall during the mission to kill bin Laden and was abandoned by the SEALs -- but not before the special operations team attempted to destroy it with explosives. In the days after the raid, the tail section and other pieces of debris -- including a mysterious cloth-like covering that the local children found entertaining to play with -- were photographed being hauled away from the crash site by tractor.

Aviation experts said the unusual configuration of the rear rotor, the curious hub-cap like housing around it and the general shape of the bird are all clues the helicopter was highly modified to not only be quiet, but to have as small a radar signature as possible.

In the days after the raid, U.S. officials asked for the helicopters return, but Pakistani officials said they were interested in studying it and suggested the Chinese were interested as well. One Pakistani official told ABC News earlier this month, "We might let them [the Chinese] take a look."

A U.S. official said then he did not know if the Pakistanis had offered a peek to the Chinese, but said he would be "shocked" if the Chinese hadn't already been given access to the damaged aircraft. Lapan did not say whether or not there is evidence the Chinese had been allowed to see the pieces of the helicopter before it was returned to the U.S.

The Chinese and Pakistani governments are known to have a close relationship. Last month Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif concluded a trip to Beijing, afterwards telling Pakistan's local press that China was Pakistan's "best friend."

The Department of Defense has not officially commented on the nature of the aircraft and a senior Pentagon official told ABC News in the days after the raid the Department would "absolutely not" discuss it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

US Government, Military Websites Redirected to Chinese Servers

Photo Courtesy - Senate [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. government and military Internet traffic was briefly redirected through computer servers in China earlier this year, according to a report that is to be released Wednesday by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

The report says telecommunications companies in China disrupted the Internet for only about 18 minutes -- but they were a big 18 minutes.  They "hijacked" about 15 percent of the world's online traffic, affecting NASA, the U.S. Senate, the four branches of the military and the office of the Secretary of Defense.

A draft copy of the report, obtained by ABC News, said, "For about 18 minutes on April 8, 2010, China Telecom advertised erroneous network traffic routes that instructed U.S. and other foreign Internet traffic to travel through Chinese servers."

While the Internet "hijacking" incident was initially reported on in April, it had not been previously disclosed that the U.S. government was affected by the incident.  The report states, "This incident affected traffic to and from U.S. government (''.gov'') and military (''.mil'') sites, including those for the Senate, the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and many others.  Certain commercial websites were also affected, such as those for Dell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and IBM."

Officials at the State Department and Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the report.

The Commission report does not discuss why the telecommunications firms rerouted the Internet traffic but it does mention the possible security risks.

"Although the Commission has no way to determine what, if anything, Chinese telecommunications firms did to the hijacked data, incidents of this nature could have a number of serious implications.  This level of access could enable surveillance of specific users or sites.  It could disrupt a data transaction and prevent a user from establishing a connection with a site.  It could even allow a diversion of data to somewhere that the user did not intend."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct282010

Did the Stimulus Package Ship Jobs to China?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In dozens of key races around the country this election cycle, Republicans are hammering Democratic incumbents with this message: Billions of dollars were spent to create jobs in China.

"Is Baron Hill running for Congress in Indiana or China?" asks one typical ad being run by the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC).  "Baron Hill supported the $800 billion failed stimulus package that created renewable energy jobs in China."

Another ad says West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahall's stimulus vote "helped foreign companies create Chinese jobs making windmills."

The NRCC is running variations of that ad against 30 Democrats who voted for the stimulus, accusing them of spending tax dollars to create jobs in China.

There's a grain of truth to it, but the charge is misleading.  Out of the 33,000 wind turbines in use in America today, ABC News could find only three that were made in China with stimulus dollars.  They cost less than $2.5 million -- less than .000031 percent of the $814 billion stimulus program.

The allegation in the ad is based in part on a joint ABC News/Investigative Reporting Workshop investigation from February that found as much as 79 percent of stimulus money allotted for wind energy had gone to foreign developers, but most of those companies were in Europe, not China, and some of them manufacture their wind turbines in the United States.  By last month, the percentage of wind energy stimulus funds that went to foreign firms fell to 54 percent, according to the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

ABC News' report also cited a joint U.S./Chinese venture in Texas that may get up to $450 million in stimulus funding.  But that project has not yet received a dime of stimulus money.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio