BEIJING – China has arrested a Chinese-born American citizen on charges of spying on Beijing's diplomats in the United States for rival Taiwan, an official newspaper reported.
David Wei Dong (search), a U.S. citizen since 1995, was arrested last September and is expected to go on trial soon, according to the Global Times, published by the main Communist Party newspaper, People's Daily.
Dong is accused of gathering and passing on Chinese "diplomatic secrets" since 1990, focusing on policy toward Taiwan, the island that Beijing claims as part of its territory, the semiweekly newspaper said in its Monday edition.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing confirmed that Dong was detained in September and has received regular visits by a U.S. diplomat, most recently on June 4. The spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she had no other details.
China and Taiwan split in 1949 amid civil war. They have no official relations and are believed to spy actively against each other.
Dong is accused of passing on information about China's views on Taiwan's economy, U.S. policy toward the island and its former ruling Nationalist Party (search), according to the newspaper.
It didn't say how Dong obtained the information or what penalty he might face if convicted.
Dong's arrest adds to a string of recent Chinese cases against Taiwanese businesspeople and others accused of spying on the mainland for the island's government.
Other publicly disclosed cases involved accusations of spying within China's borders on military and economic targets.
The Global Times didn't say how evidence against Dong was obtained or how his status as a U.S. citizen allegedly carrying out spying in the United States, rather than in China, might affect the charges.
Dong, known in Chinese as Dong Wei, is accused of receiving a $268,000 house and cash payments from Taiwan's military intelligence and national security bureaus, the Global Times said.
It said Dong was born in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing (search) in 1952, worked as a reporter for state media and in 1986 went to the United States as a student. The newspaper said that in the United States, he was an executive of an unidentified trading firm.
In December, China announced that dozens of Taiwanese and mainland nationals had been detained on spying charges.
A Taiwanese man, Song Xiaolian, was sentenced July 15 to four years in prison on spying charges. The status of other recent detainees hasn't been announced, but state media say all have confessed.