Chinese professor charged with spying in the US accuses govt of discrimination

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese professor charged in the United States with economic espionage said Chinese scholars and engineers in the United States face discrimination and"absurd" suspicions by the government that they are stealing technologies.

Zhang Hao of Tianjin University told the state-backed Global Times in remarks published on Monday (Oct 12) that the US government had unfairly accused him and other Chinese nationals who work or attend school in the United States of stealing sensitive technology.

Zhang was one of six Chinese nationals charged by the US government in May with economic espionage.

The US authorities said they stole secrets from two companies that develop technology often used in military systems.

"At this time, the US government holds a pervasive, unfair view of ethnic Chinese academics and engineers, always looking at us with the attitude of 'guarding against thieves'," Zhang told the paper.

"They believe that coming to the US to study abroad or engage in scientific research is tantamount to wanting to steal US technology. This is absurd."

Zhang could not immediately be reached for comment.

He told the Global Times he expects to resume teaching and research "after I am cleared".

He was released on bail in July.

The US authorities have repeatedly accused China of backing hackers who steal commercial secrets - a practice that Washington says it does not engage in.

China strongly denies the US accusations, saying it is itself a victim of cyber attacks.

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed last month that neither government would knowingly support cyber theft of corporate secrets or business information but stopped short of any promise to refrain from traditional government-to-government cyber spying for intelligence purposes.

US prosecutors have accused Zhang and his partners of stealing source code and designs from Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions, and passing them on to Chinese universities and companies.

China's Foreign Ministry said in May that it was strongly concerned about the accusations.