Guilty Plea in Theft of Dupont Secrets for China

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, March 3, 2012

A former DuPont Corp. scientist has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit economic espionage for a company controlled by the Chinese government and agreed to testify against others charged with stealing secrets of a manufacturing process sought by China.

Tze Chao, 77, a DuPont employee from 1966 to 2002, admitted Thursday in a San Francisco federal court that he had provided confidential information about DuPont’s titanium dioxide process to the Chinese-controlled Pangang Group Co.

Titanium dioxide is a bright white pigment used in paints and other products such as powders, paper and toothpaste. DuPont’s chlorine-based process was eagerly sought by China, which used a less efficient and more environmentally harmful production method, according to court documents.

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Pangang employees “overtly appealed to my Chinese ethnicity and asked me to work for the good” of the People’s Republic of China, Chao said. {snip}

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