Well, it may have not been the Chinese Government that was caught, but it might as well have been.
According to the Department of Justice, two Chinese nationals were indicted last week by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia for attempting to obtain radiation-hardened microchips in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
These fellows told the government that they had not applied for an export license because, get this, it was “difficult, time-consuming, and would require them to identify” that the end-user would have been the Chinese military. By golly.
The end-user was none other than the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), a state-owned entity that seeks to make “new contributions to the national modernization construction and peaceful exploration of space for mankind” or Party propaganda for, we seek to build the latest weapons and spy satellites with, if we can get it, U.S. technology and know-how.
The People’s Republic of China has no plans of scaling down efforts to steal sensitive U.S. dual-use and military technology. Export control reformers in the Obama Administration and the Congress must shudder every time one of these gems comes down the pike.
To those that argue that our export control laws are outdated, a relic of the Cold War (like this recent article by an American Tsinghua University professor living in China), think again. Just because it is old, does not make it bad. Should we toss the Constitution?
Updating of the current regulations is needed and long overdue. Cases such as these, however, serve as a reminder that these controls are needed now more than ever. We should respond accordingly.
You can read the complete Department of Justice press release for more information on the case.