Theft Report Is a 'Farce,' China Says
March 15, 1999 - The New York Times
China's state news agency Sunday rejected assertions
that its spies stole nuclear-weapon designs from the United States
as a "farce" and a "fabrication" by forces out to sabotage
In a commentary from its Washington bureau, the New China News Agency singled out an article in The New York Times that first publicly revealed the official suspicions of espionage, saying it
set off a "smear campaign against China."
American investigators, the Times article on March 6 said,
suspect that in the late 1980s Chinese spies learned the American
design of an advanced, small nuclear warhead, and believe spying
efforts have continued. Last week, the prime suspect in the case, a
scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, was dismissed for
security infractions, though he has not been charged with a crime.
"The whole story is a complete fabrication," said Sunday
Chinese commentary, and has "fanned up a hullabaloo among
anti-China witch-hunters on the Capitol Hill and the press."
Previously, China's foreign minister denounced the assertions of
nuclear spying as "irresponsible" and "unfounded," but Sunday's
dispatch was China's strongest denunciation yet of the accusations.
It is no coincidence, the commentary said, that the accusations
appeared as the two countries were preparing for the visit in April
of Prime Minister Zhu Rongji to Washington. "In Washington,
whenever there is a visit by leaders between China and the United
States, there is a crusading farce against Beijing," it said.
"Some Americans concocted such stories as "political donations"
and "satellite secrets leakage" just before exchanges of visits
in the past two years."
"The 'lab theft' story, cooked up by anti-China forces in the
United States, is also designed to press the Clinton administration
into giving up its policy of 'constructive engagement' with
China," the article said. "This shortsighted attempt will get
"The fabrication of 'news' out of political opportunism is an
insult to the motto cherished by The New York Times, which says
'all the news that's fit to print,' " it said. "The distortion of
facts by a few congressmen shows that they are irresponsible in
dealing with serious political matters."
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