Page last updated at 23:17 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

China arms sales scientist guilty

An US scientist has pleaded guilty to selling rocket technology to China in breach of US arms control laws.

Quan-Sheng Shu, 68, admitted helping China develop a fuelling system for space launch vehicles.

The president of a Virginia-based high-tech company also pleaded guilty to bribing Chinese officials to win a contract for another company.

He is free on bail pending sentencing in April. He could face up to 25 years in prison and a heavy fine.

A naturalised US citizen born in Shanghai, the scientist was charged with two counts under the federal Arms Control Act and one count of bribery.

Prosecutors in Virginia said Mr Shu - president of Amac International - had ordered his employees to falsify documents about the transactions, which took place between 2003 and 2007.

'No espionage'

Defence lawyer James Broccoletti said the case did not involve espionage or treason.

"It doesn't involve national security," Mr Broccoletti was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

According to its website, Amac has contracts with the Department of Energy and Nasa, the US space agency, worth $2m.

But the firm also focuses on helping manufacturers export their products to Asia, says the BBC's Richard Lister in Washington, and Mr Shu admitted giving Chinese officials almost $190,000 in order to win a contract for an unnamed French firm.

In return he was given a $400,000 commission.

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