Beijing says U.S. spying charges against Chinese citizen 'pure fabrication'

FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin attends a news conference in Beijing

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China on Monday labelled the charges against a Chinese citizen convicted in the United States of stealing trade secrets as "pure fabrication".

The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday that Xu Yanjun had been convicted by a federal jury of plotting to steal trade secrets from several U.S. aviation and aerospace companies.

"The allegation is pure fabrication," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing.

"We demand that the U.S. handle the case according to the law and in a just manner to ensure the rights and interests of the Chinese citizen."

Xu was convicted of two counts of conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage, in addition to a count of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft and two counts of attempted theft of trade secrets.

Xu faces a maximum 60 years in prison and fines totalling more than $5 million, according to a press release. He will be sentenced by a federal district court judge.

Going back as far as 2013, Xu was accused of using multiple aliases to carry out economic espionage and steal trade secrets on behalf of China. Multiple U.S. aviation and aerospace companies, including GE Aviation, a unit of General Electric Co, were his targets, the release said.

(This story refiles to reinsert dropped word from headline)

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Nick Macfie)