Related story: Aiming for the moon? You can get a piece of it
BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- The Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry
and Commerce has stepped into the probe of a local company, registered
early last month, claiming to sell land on moon.
The administration is working together with its Chaoyang District Branch, other
concerned departments and legal experts to study and collect evidence on whether
the company's businesses are legitimate, the Beijing News reported on
The administration found that the company, the Beijing Lunar Village Aeronautics
Science and Technology Co., Ltd. with domestic financing, was
registered on Sept. 5 to do businesses covering space travel, development of the
moon and sales of land of moon.
With a registered capital of 10 million yuan (1.23 million US dollars), the company
has actually turned in only 100,000 yuan, a source with the administration
was quoted as saying by the Beijing News.
Previously, the Chaoyang District Branch of the Beijing Municipal
Administration of Industry and Commerce claimed that sale of land on the moon
was not listed as the company's business when it was registered, according to
early reports by the paper.
The Xiaoguan sub-branch of the Chaoyang District branch has launched an investigation into the legitimacy of the company's practice. The Xiaoguan sub-branch found that the company, the so-called Lunar Embassy in China, claimed to be the sole agent in China for US-based Lunar Embassy, but it could not provide any materials which are put on record in the United States and only an authorization certificate by the US company.
Staff with the municipal administration said that it is a kind of "special
practice" to sell land on the moon and legal experts have different views.
The so-called Lunar Embassy in China, through which one can purchase an acre
on the moon for 298 yuan (37 US dollars), started operation on Oct. 19.
The Lunar Embassy will issue customers a "certificate" that ensures property
ownership including rights to use the land and minerals up to three kilometers
underground, Li Jie, chief executive officer of the company was quoted
as saying by the China Daily several days ago.
"We define it as a kind of novelty gift with the potential of unlimited
increase in value," said Li, who was nominated as the agent in China by Dennis
Hope, a US entrepreneur who founded the first extraterrestrial estate agency
Lunar Embassy in 1980, 11 years after the Apollo II mission first landed people
on the moon.
Hope thinks a loophole in the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty which forbids
governments from owning extraterrestrial property but fails to mention
corporations or individuals.
"I have 3.5 million customers including ex-US presidents Ronald Reagan,
Jimmy Carter and movie stars who have purchased land on the moon," Hope was
quoted by the China Daily as saying.
And there appears to be at least some moonstruck people in China. According
to Li, with the Lunar Embassy in China, several hundreds telephone orders were
received in the past few days.
At the same time, not all believe that the trading is legal and some even
regard it as fraud or a joke.
"It's ridiculous! The moon belongs to the whole mankind and how can a
company sell it," said a man surnamed Xu, who works at a media group in Beijing.