China United Airlines aircraft B-4138, a Russian-made TU-154M
three-engine airliner, is also clearly marked. B-4138 is
painted in the colors of the communist government-owned airline
and flies under an international civilian number as a passenger
plane. The markings on B-4138 include large black block letters
and a CUA symbol on the tail.
B-4138 is a Chinese spy plane. Defense analysts confirmed that
the so-called "civil" aircraft is actually a Chinese air force
spy plane equipped with a sophisticated radar and communications
equipment. The modified TU-154M airliner is equipped with an
array of communications antenna on the rear and a huge radar
dome on the bottom of the aircraft.
"The Tu-154M is indeed from China United," stated Richard
Fisher, a Chinese military defense analyst and fellow at the
"It is equipped with a new Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)
system," noted Fisher, pointing out the characteristic tublike
radar dome that dominates the lower half of the Chinese spy
"This Tu-154M is likely involved in research for the development
of SAR systems that can be used in a similar fashion to the U.S.
JSTARS, which provided unprecedented battlefield awareness to
U.S. commanders in the Gulf War. For the PLA, this and future
SAR aircraft will help to manage military operations over Taiwan
and to find critical targets for air and missile strikes."
China United Airlines operates inside the United States and is
one of nearly 2,000 Chinese army-owned companies doing
business in America. China United Airlines also operates U.S.-made civilian jet as military aircraft.
According to Seattle-based Boeing Aircraft Corp., the
Chinese army air force obtained 10 civil 737-300 jet transports
in 2000 through a purchase by China United Airlines. U.S
defense officials confirmed that the Chinese Air Force is
operating the 10 Boeing civil airliners as military
"There is no doubt in my mind that they [China United Airlines]
operate this type of aircraft," stated Larry Wortzel, senior
Asia analyst at the Heritage Foundation.
"I have no doubt they have FLIR [forward-looking infrared] and
SAR radar on some U.S made Gulfstreams as well," noted Wortzel.
"Both Boeing and McDonnell Douglas aircraft were used to move a
division of the 15th Airborne Army to Beijing for use in
According to a 1994 U.S. military report, the Clinton
administration was aware that the People's Liberation Army Air
Force (PLAAF) owns and operates China United Airlines.
Documentation obtained using the Freedom of Information act
shows that China United Airlines is a known front company
operated by PLAAF.
"China United Airlines (CUA) is a commercial entity of the PLA
Air Force," states a 1994 report on the Chinese military issued
by Lt. Col. Dennis Blasko, former U.S. defense attaché to
Documents obtained from the Commerce Department using the
Freedom of Information Act show that Loral Defense Systems
sought the personal intervention of Ron Brown to approve
Synthetic Radar technology exports to China.
Loral Defense Systems President, Jerald A. Lindfelt, wrote
Brown, then Bill Clinton's secretary of commerce, in March 1996. Lindfelt sought
Brown's help in the export of SAR technology to China.
Lindfelt's appeal also included a direct request for Brown
to over rule the Department of Defense, the State Department and
even Brown's own Commerce Department, which had all previously
denied SAR radar export to China.
"We've worked hard trying to resolve these problems with the
Department of State, the Department of Commerce and the Defense
Technology Security Administration (DTSA)," Loral's Lindfelt
wrote to Brown. "But someone in these organizations always
manage to block our participation."
Lindfelt attached a letter for Brown from Mrs. Zheng Lizhong,
deputy director of the National Remote Sensing Center for the
State Science and Technology Commission of China.
"Since 1989, the U.S. government has withheld any support for
the equipment installed in our aircraft," Mrs. Zheng wrote
"Your company has been very helpful in trying to solve the
problems and release the equipment from the embargo, but so far
have been unable to achieve a result. According to your
manufacturers, because of the function of the equipment can be
classed as military and civilian, the U.S. State Department
continues to block any moves to put the products in the control
of the Commerce Department."
According to a document obtained from the U.S. Defense
Department, the Chinese Institute of Remote Sensing Equipment is
actually the Chinese Air Force military radar and laser guidance
design office. The 1999 Defense Department document notes that
the Chinese "Institute of Remote Sensing" is "a developer of
optical precision and photoelectric guidance systems for
In 1996, then-President Clinton moved control for advanced technology
exports to the Commerce Department. The Chinese National Remote
Sensing Center quickly won approval for the radar export the
Clinton Commerce Department, and the Chinese army currently
operates the system on on a U.S.-made Gulfstream jet.
In a September 1994 memo to Clinton, Harold Ickes, then White House
chief of staff, informed him that Schwartz could
be used to raise campaign donations "in order to raise an
additional $3,000,000 to permit the Democratic National
Committee to produce and air generic TV/radio spots as soon as
Ickes then urged Clinton to invite Schwartz to the White House
"to impress [him] with the need to raise $3,000,000 within the
next two weeks." In another memo, Ickes informed Clinton that
Schwartz "is prepared to do anything he can for the
Between October 1995 and March 1996, as Clinton mulled over
whether to ignore the State, Justice, and Defense Departments'
reasons against granting Loral waivers to export advanced
technology to China, Loral Chairman Bernard Schwartz injected
more than $150,000 into the DNC's coffers.
After Clinton's decision to lift the ban in Loral's case and
to allow the exportation of the company's technology to the
Chinese military, Loral CEO Schwartz handed over an additional
$300,000 to the DNC.
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