Chinese execs get 2 years for export violations in Va. court

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Two Chinese aerospace executives have each been sentenced to two years in prison for attempting to violate the U.S. arms embargo against China by purchasing thousands of military-grade microchips.

Thirty-two-year-old Hong Wei Xian and 33-year-old Li Li, both Chinese residents who were arrested last year in Hungary and extradited to the U.S., were caught in an undercover sting by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents after trying to buy specialized, radiation-hardened microchips from a Virginia company in 2008.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil MacBride said the case demonstrates the blurred line between traditional espionage and economic espionage, both of which are pursued aggressively by the Chinese government.