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US Chinese suspected of spying `regretful'
By Tao Yuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-30 23:57

David Wei Dong, a Chinese-American who is suspected of spying for Taiwan, has shown signs of regret for what he has done, a well-placed source told China Daily on Friday.

Dong admitted that he had passed "valuable information" to Taiwan, the source said.

The source said that Dong has met with his lawyer last Sunday.

"Everything in the case has been verified through legal proceedings," the source said.

Chen Manping, Dong's lawyer, who is with Guangdong Qiyuan Law Firm, confirmed the statement.

"Yes. Up to now, the procedure is legal," Chen told China Daily through telephone.

The lawyer denied any outside pressure. "Of course not, I did not feel any pressure from outside sources," he said.

Dong was arrested last September shortly after he entered the mainland, and is now in solitary confinement in Guangzhou.

The investigation that fingered Dong as being on the payroll of Taiwan's top intelligence agency, the "National Security Bureau," shows that he collected confidential information, including speeches by China's top leaders at closed-door meetings, information about political and economic conditions; and Beijing's policies towards Taiwan and the United States.

Dong, 52, a former State media correspondent in Sichuan Province, also recruited Chinese students by granting them scholarships, drawing money from a US$1 million fund set up by the Taiwan military intelligence agency, according to the investigations. Dong left the Chinese mainland to study in the United States in 1986.

Dong's high-level positions, such as deputy-chairman of a US-based distributing group, plus his journalism background, helped him become popular in Chinese circles in the United States.

After Dong was exposed, US Chinese circles were in an uproar.

"He is quite famous here and has a lot of friends I think. I don't know exactly how big was the scope of his spy network," an overseas Chinese surnamed Wu in New York told China Daily in an telephone interview.

A telephone number listed in Dong's name in New York has been disconnected.

Dong's wife has met Chen and discussed details of his defence work, the source said.

According to the Chinese judicial system, formal indictment occurs when authorities make a decision to prosecute.

Dong receives regular visits from a US consular officer in Guangzhou, most recently on Wednesday, the 10th time since September 2003.

Investigators say they believe that Dong was working with Taiwanese lobbyists in the United States and that they paid "tens of millions" US dollars to US consulting firms and foundations to "seek support" from the US for Taiwan, and sought to influence US politics by their"dollar-diplomacy."

"The case is still in the process of supplementary investigation and more details need to be uncovered," said Chen, adding that he could provide no more information.

"As the case involves state secrets, I think the court may not conduct a public trial," he said.

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