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Selling moon plots is legal lunacy, Chinese court rules

A Beijing company reportedly found some takers at $38 an acre.

March 18, 2007|From Reuters

BEIJING — A Chinese appeals court has upheld a ban against a company trying to sell land on the moon, ruling that "celestial bodies" could not be anyone's property, state media said Saturday.

Lunar Embassy to China, a Beijing-based company that sold plots of lunar land to individuals, sued the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce, which revoked its business license and fined it $6,500 in October 2005.

Haidian District People's Court ruled against the company in November 2005. On Friday, the Beijing First Intermediate People's Court upheld that decision, the government's New China News Agency said.

The court cited an international treaty that China signed in 1983.

"The treaty states that outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by other means," the news agency reported.

The company offered to sell individuals an acre of lunar land for about $38. Within three days of opening for business, it was reported that 34 clients had bought 49 acres, earning the company more than $1,800.

China may launch its first lunar satellite in September, the official People's Daily said in its overseas edition Saturday, quoting the head of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

China's space program has made rapid progress in recent years. In 2003, it put a man in space, becoming only the third country to do so, after the Soviet Union and United States, and launched a second manned space flight in 2005.

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