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Chinese Valeo worker arrested in France on industrial espionage charge

05.03.2005, 09:24 PM

SHANGHAI (AFX) - French police have arrested a 22-year-old Chinese student for alleged industrial espionage while working at Valeo, the car parts manufacturer, casting a shadow over this week's visit to Paris by China's trade minister, the Financial Times reported.

It said the student Li Li is being held in custody after police raided her house on Friday and found three computers and two hard drives containing data on Valeo's products. Prosecutors said the data included 'confidential' designs not yet brought to market, the paper said.

The paper described her arrest as an embarrassing blow to China's hopes of strengthening ties with France amid political concern about the impact of a sharp rise in imports of Chinese clothing on the French textiles industry.

Bo Xilai, China's trade minister, who is visiting Paris for this week's Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ministerial conference, said he was unaware of Li's arrest. 'If it is true, it is absolutely regrettable,' he was quoted as saying.

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