China Denies U.S. Spying Allegations

BEIJING (AP) -- China on Tuesday denied links to a Chinese-born engineer who was convicted in the U.S. last week of stealing trade secrets for China during his 30-year career at Boeing and Rockwell International.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a brief statement the charges against former Boeing Co. engineer Dongfan "Greg" Chung were "fabricated."

"The allegations about a Chinese person stealing trade secrets in the U.S. for China is purely fabricated out of ulterior motives," the statement said.

A federal judge in California found Chung guilty of six counts of economic espionage and other charges for hoarding 300,000 pages of sensitive documents in his home, including information about the U.S. space shuttle and a booster rocket.

Chung, 73, could face up to 90 years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for November. His defense attorney said he planned to appeal.

The case was the first conviction on economic espionage in the U.S. The law was passed in 1996 to help the government crack down on the theft of information from private companies that contract with the government to develop U.S. space and military technologies.

The legislation became a priority in the mid-1990s when the U.S. realized China and other countries were targeting private businesses as part of their spy strategy.

The government believes Chung began spying for the Chinese in the late 1970s, a few years after he became a naturalized U.S. citizen and was hired by Rockwell International, which was later bought by Boeing.