China’s Commerce Ministry has described as “vicious smearing” accusations of industrial espionage, which surfaced in January before being dismissed by the French Finance Minister later that month. French carmaker Renault, which was allegedly targeted, fired three managers for their part in the affair. From France 24:
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.