China Denies Space Spy Charges

A foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing describes allegations of Chinese spying as "sheer fabrication."
2008-11-19
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amac-305.jpg
Quan-sheng Shu, chief executive officer of AMAC International, in a picture on the company Web site, Nov. 18, 2008.
Graphic: RFA
HONG KONGChina has denied that it bought U.S. military space know-how from physicist Shu Quan-Sheng, who has pleaded guilty to the charges before a U.S. court.

Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters that the charges were untrue.

"This so-called report about China stealing outer space technology from the United States is a sheer fabrication made out of ulterior motives that is doomed to failure," Qin said.

The U.S. Justice Department said that Shu Quan-Sheng, 68, a China native who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, entered the guilty plea in federal court in Norfolk, Virginia.

Shu admitted that from 2003 through October 2007 he violated the U.S. arms export control law by providing China with assistance in the design and development of a cryogenic fueling system for space launch vehicles.

Espionage 'stepped up'

Shu, who is the head of a high-tech company, AMAC International, with offices in Beijing, admitted a third charge of bribing Chinese officials with U.S. $189,300 .

He is scheduled to be sentenced April 6 and faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the export violations and up to five years for violating the foreign corrupt practices law, U.S. officials said.

Former Chinese nationals overseas, including ethnic minority Uyghurs in exile, have said they were  forced  into spying for China because of pressure brought to bear on their families who remained behind.

U.S. intelligence reports say China has intensified its espionage activities against the United States in the past 20 years, amid allegations that it stole U.S. nuclear and missile technology secrets.

In February, a former Boeing engineer was arrested on charges of stealing trade secrets for China related to several aerospace programs, including the Space Shuttle.

Beijing routinely dismisses any allegations relating to its overseas espionage activities.

Original reporting by RFA's Cantonese and Mandarin services. Written for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Richard Finney and Sarah Jackson-Han.