China says U.S. spying allegations total fiction

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is not running a spy network in the United States and Washington should cease its allegations of espionage, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, days after the U.S. Justice Department arrested four for spying.

One of those arrested was a former Boeing engineer, who was charged on Monday with stealing trade secrets for China about several aerospace programs, including the Space Shuttle.

“So-called talk that China runs spying activities in China is totally fictitious and has ulterior motives,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference.

“We demand the U.S. side abandon its Cold War thinking and stop its gratuitous criticism of China,” he added, saying other unnamed countries had made similar “irresponsible” remarks.

“I think everyone is weary of this kind of farce, and it should end,” Liu said.

In recent months, Germany has complained about Chinese cyber-spying on its companies and government bodies and a British newspaper said similar activities were going on in Britain. China denied the charges.

U.S. officials said Dongfan “Greg” Chung, 72, of Orange, California, who was employed by Rockwell International from 1973 until its defense and space unit was acquired by Boeing Co in 1996, was arrested without incident at his home.

He was accused in federal court in California of espionage involving economic secrets, conspiracy and other charges. If convicted, he faces a potential maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison, the officials said.

The other case involved Gregg William Bergersen, a Defense Department official who had a top-secret security clearance, and Tai Shen Kuo and Yu Xin Kang, both of New Orleans.

Liu said such allegations did nothing to help Sino-U.S. ties.

The United States should “do more to help bilateral trust and friendship between the peoples of both nations”, he added.