China blasts 'smearing' over Renault spy case
China hit out Tuesday at what it called "vicious smearing" over claims -- now discredited -- that the trade secrets of French automaker Renault were reportedly obtained by Chinese parties.
Renault sacked the three managers in January for allegedly selling the secrets -- an affair the French government branded "economic warfare."
French media reports pointed the finger at China, which Beijing denied.
But last week, the firm apologised to the managers after it emerged that police found no trace of bank accounts the accused men were alleged to have held and that the source of the spying allegations may have been a fraudster.
"As to the Renault issue, shouldn't we reduce the vicious smearing and unfriendly attitude?" commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian told reporters when asked to comment on the case.
He also suggested unspecified parties should "face up to China's technology advancement, particularly in terms of patents."
He added that according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, China made the fourth most patent registrations in the world last year after the United States, Japan and Germany.
"Chinese companies are advancing very rapidly," he said.
© 2011 AFP