Judge Grants Hao Zhang Additional Freedoms with Prosecutors’ Consent

The U.S. District Court building in downtown San Jose where Chinese Professor Hao Zhang is facing criminal charges of trade-secret theft, conspiracy and economic espionage to benefit the Chinese government. His purported victims are two U.S. semiconductor companies with Silicon Valley operations.

The U.S. District Court building in downtown San Jose where Chinese Professor Hao Zhang is facing criminal charges of trade-secret theft, conspiracy and economic espionage to benefit the Chinese government. His purported victims are two U.S. semiconductor companies with Silicon Valley operations. (Photo by Sharon Simonson)

By Sharon Simonson

A federal magistrate judge has agreed to allow Chinese Professor Hao Zhang the right to leave his Mountain View apartment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily to permit him to buy food and complete other household errands and chores.

Zhang’s wife, Fan Liping, a Chinese citizen, has been with him since his May 16 arrest at the Los Angeles International Airport and has lived with him in Mountain View since he was released from federal custody July 29.

Now she must return to China no later than Nov. 15 by the terms of her temporary U.S.-visitor visa.

It is the second time Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins has agreed to loosen the conditions of Zhang’s house arrest. The judge previously gave permission for Zhang to leave his apartment and to use amenities on the campus of his apartment complex such as exercise and laundry rooms.

Zhang spent weeks in the Santa Clara County Detention Center after his arrest as prosecutors fought to prohibit his release on bail. They argued that the risk of his flight was so great that no conditions could adequately ensure he would not flee. Zhang ultimately posted a $500,000 bond with the help of U.S. relatives to secure his release.

Zhang is accused of conspiracy, economic espionage and theft of trade secrets along with five other men, for their own benefit and that of the government of the People’s Republic of China. All six men are Chinese citizens. Zhang is the only one who has been arrested.

The six are accused of trade theft from two semiconductor companies with Silicon Valley ties: Avago Technologies Ltd. and Skyworks Solutions Inc. Zhang worked for Skyworks for three years ending in 2009. He is now a full professor at China’s Tianjin University along with Wei Pang, one of his alleged co-conspirators. Pang worked for Avago at about the same time as Zhang worked for Skyworks.

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