SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese state media on Monday criticized the United States for its complaints about intellectual property theft, calling them a "political tool" intended to suppress China's economic development.
The U.S. has lobbed complaints about Chinese theft of technology as trade tensions mount between the world's two biggest economies.
An op-ed article in the People's Daily targeted the Section 301 report Washington issued in March 2018, saying the authors fabricated the claim that China stole hundreds of billions of dollars worth of intellectual property from the U.S.
"If the report is based on imagined or selective data, it's a kind of science fiction novel," it said.
"Intellectual property rights should be a bridge for innovation and cooperation among countries. In the hands of the U.S. it has become a political tool, a weapon to contain other countries, and a veil for bullying the world."
China has become a world leader in protecting intellectual property rights, it added.
"China has established a relatively thorough and high-standard legal system for intellectual property, and continuously strengthens the judicial protection of intellectual property," the article said.
Many foreign companies willingly engaged in technical cooperation and received generous returns, it added.
"Even if problems involving intellectual property emerge, these can be solved entirely through legal means."
In January, U.S. federal prosecutors began investigating Chinese telecoms equipment provider Huawei Technologies Co Ltd for allegedly attempting to steal technology from American carrier T-Mobile US Inc.
Huawei has pleaded not guilty.
Last week, the U.S. commerce department put Huawei on its so-called "Entity List", which prevents U.S.-based companies from selling it components.
(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)