BEIJING, June 8 (Reuters) - The wife of a Chinese professor detained in the United States on spying charges proclaimed her husband innocent and appealed for donations for legal fees in a letter published on Monday by Tianjin University, his employer.
Zhang Hao, 36, was one of six Chinese citizens -- including three Tianjin University engineers -- named last month in a U.S. indictment alleging economic espionage of wireless semiconductor technology.
He was arrested at Los Angeles international airport on May 16 as he entered the United States on the way to a conference.
Zhang, who founded a chipmaking firm in the eastern Chinese city of Tianjin in 2011, has been “maliciously and falsely accused” by U.S. authorities, his wife Fan Liping wrote. She described the professor as a simple man who pursued only his research.
In the letter, which was dated June 3 and appeared on social media on Monday, Fan sought donations, saying the family needed between 20 million yuan ($3.22 million) and 35 million yuan in legal fees, and pledged to fight the case in U.S. courts.
U.S. prosecutors have accused Zhang and his partners of stealing source code and designs from Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions, and passing them on to Chinese universities and companies as part of “a methodical and relentless effort by foreign interests to obtain and exploit sensitive and valuable U.S. technology”.
Tianjin University has rejected the charges and said it could take legal measures to defend the school’s reputation.
$1 = 6.2053 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Gerry Shih; editing by Andrew Roche)