Chinese student in US jailed for clicking photographs of Florida naval base
Beijing, Feb 10: The ongoing dispute between the US and China over matters of trade and geopolitics is not unknown but the impact of the tug-of-war between the two big economies has landed one young Chinese student in jail.
Twenty-year-old Zhao Qianli has been sentenced to a year in prison in the US after he was caught taking photographs of an American naval base in Florida, Shanghaiist reported.
Zhao pleaded guilty to a charge of clicking defence installations though he claimed that he had mistakenly done so. He said he was a tourist who lost his way before ending up inside the Naval Air Station Key West.
The lawyers, however, refused to buy that Zhao was a lost tourist by pointing out that he had entered the secure facility through a water way and went around a fence that was marked with words "Restricted Area" and "Keep Out".
The Chinese student's camera/smartphone also did not have any photo of tourists spots but those of installations like satellite dishes and antennae inside the base, the Shanghaiist report added.
Zhao is a musicology student at the North University of China and he went to the US last year in a summer exchange programme. He went to Miami, Florida, after finishing studies and entered the naval base in Key West on September 26.
Zhao's sentencing came in the wake of the warning report issued by the US intelligence that China is using students as spies to steal secrets. Authorities have been alerting of late that some of the 3.5 lakh students from China are engaged in espionage work.