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China Convicts U.S.-Based Scholar

July 24, 2001

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BEIJING (AP) _ A U.S.-based Chinese sociologist was convicted Tuesday of spying and sentenced to 10 years, her defense lawyer said.

Gao Zhan’s conviction in a case closely watched by Washington came four days before an official visit by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Gao immediately applied for medical parole, said her lawyer, Bai Xuebiao. He has previously said she suffers from heart ailments.

In court, Gao spoke in her own defense at least eight times, Bai said. He had said before the one-day trial that she would argue that prosecutors had failed to prove the spying charges.

Bai said the sentence imposed by the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court was more severe than he had expected.

``For me to be disappointed is useless,″ he said.

Gao is one of five Chinese-born academics or writers with U.S. ties detained in the past year in an anti-spying crackdown.

The detentions have strained relations with Washington and unsettled China scholars abroad.

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