Photo: AFP

In the face of US accusations of foul play, Beijing defended its industrial achievements on Wednesday, rejecting fresh accusations of technology theft. The US Justice Department on Tuesday unsealed charges against a US citizen and a Chinese national, alleging the duo conspired to steal turbine technology from General Electric with aid from the Chinese government.

But Beijing says the issue is a “common commercial case” and it should not be “over-interpreted and politicized.”

“The achievements of China’s development have not come from theft. It is the result of the Chinese people’s wisdom and sweat,” a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry said, as reported by The Associated Press.

“We hope the relevant sides can stop unfounded hype and view and deal with the relevant issues objectively and rationally,” the statement went on.

The US is alleging that Xiaoqing Zheng, a former GE engineer and resident of a rural town in New York state, conspired with his nephew, Zhang Zhaoxi, a Chinese businessman, to steal trade secrets.

A statement from the US government accused the two of “knowing and intending that those stolen trade secrets would be used to benefit the People’s Republic of China.”

The case relates to the current trade dispute between the US and China, as many in Washington have tied China’s economic success to what they allege is widespread intellectual-property theft, ranging from low-technology consumer products to the kind of high-tech IP involved in this case.

The issue of theft of trade secrets featured prominently in the Donald Trump administration’s report outlining the basis for imposing tariffs on Chinese imports.

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