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Firm loses appeal to sell moon land

A Beijing-based company that was selling plots of lunar land, sues the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce, which had revoked its business license and fined 50,000 yuan.

world Updated: Mar 17, 2007 16:29 IST

A Chinese company that was prohibited from selling land on the moon has lost its appeal of an earlier court ruling, the Beijing News reported on Saturday.

Lunar Embassy to China, a Beijing-based company that was selling plots of lunar land to individuals, sued the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce, which had revoked its business license and fined 50,000 yuan in October 2005.

The Haidian District People's Court ruled against the company in November 2005.

On Friday, the Beijing First Intermediate People's Court ruled against the company's appeal, saying no individual or state could claim ownership of the moon.

The court cited an international treaty that China signed in 1983. The treaty states "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 exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries".

The company offered to sell individuals ownership of an acre of lunar land for 298 yuan. Within three days of opening for business 34 clients had bought 49 acres of land, earning the company more than 14,000 yuan.