- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 8, 2009

NORFOLK | A Virginia scientist who sold U.S. rocket technology to China and bribed Chinese officials to obtain a lucrative contract for his company was sentenced Tuesday to more than four years in federal prison.

Quan-Sheng Shu, 68, pleaded guilty in November to two counts of violating the federal Arms Control Act and one count of bribery. U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. sentenced Shu to 51 months on each count, to be served concurrently.

Prosecutors argued that the information and equipment Shu sold to China put U.S. national security at risk, saying it could have enhanced that country's military or intelligence capabilities. Shu's attorney countered that most of the information was available to anyone with online access and the equipment could have been purchased from other companies worldwide.

“America has provided me with such a wonderful working environment and opportunity, I would never deliberately harm the country I love,” Shu told the judge through an interpreter before he was sentenced.

A naturalized citizen born in Shanghai, Shu is president of AMAC International Inc. of Newport News.

He has acknowledged selling technology to China for the development of hydrogen-propelled rockets and bribing officials to award a $4 million hydrogen liquefier contract to a French company acting as an AMAC intermediary.

Shu had faced more than seven years in prison. He already paid nearly $387,000 in restitution.

He has been free on $100,000 bond. Because of Shu's age and some minor health problems, the judge allowed him to remain free until it is determined where he will serve his sentence. If a prison hasn't been found by May 22, Shu must surrender to federal marshals, the judge said.

An expert in cryogenics, Shu has worked with the U.S. Department of Energy and NASA on several research and development projects. In 1998 he started AMAC, marketing cryogenic products from U.S. and international manufacturers.

Shu's attorney, James Broccoletti, argued that his sentence should be reduced because most of the deals Shu attempted to negotiate between the French supplier and institutions working with the Chinese government fell through.

The Chinese government is developing a space launch facility in the southern island province of Hainan that will house liquid-propelled launch vehicles designed to send space stations and satellites into orbit. The project is overseen by an arm of the People's Liberation Army.

The U.S. maintains an arms embargo on China. The State Department determined that Shu's attempts to sell information on liquid hydrogen tanks and cryogenics equipment for the fueling system of a foreign launch facility constituted an illegal transaction.

But Mr. Broccoletti argued that because Shu's company was not awarded the contract, he didn't sell any liquid hydrogen tanks. He stressed that the Chinese had been able to buy similar information and equipment from companies all over the world.

Federal authorities in recent years have prosecuted more than a dozen cases of either traditional spying or economic espionage related to China. U.S. officials have warned of increasing espionage efforts by Beijing.

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