- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 21, 2007

BEIJING (Agence France-Presse) — A Chinese firm that once tried to sell land on the moon has been banned from a more down-to-earth venture of selling bags of “World Cup air” to fans hoping to re-create the football tournament’s atmosphere.

Beijing Lunar Village Aeronautics Science and Technology Co. lost a suit against the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce, which refused its application to sell “special air from a special place,” Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

A court ruled against the company’s plan to sell green plastic bags full of air from stadiums that hosted matches in the Germany 2006 World Cup.

Company Chief Executive Officer Li Jie had planned to sell the bags to soccer fans for 50 yuan, or about $6.57 each, the agency said.

A Beijing court on Tuesday rejected the company’s appeal of an earlier ruling, saying, “Air is too vague and unstable a concept to be covered by commercial classifications.”

“My idea was that fans unable to make the trip to the World Cup soccer tournament in Germany earlier this year could hang the green plastic bags around their necks and breathe in the air while watching matches on television,” Mr. Li was reported to have said at the first trial last year, Xinhua reported.

Mr. Li’s previous venture to sell lunar land was also nixed by the courts earlier this year.

An appeals court in March upheld a ban on his company, also known as Lunar Embassy in China, from selling land on the moon.

The company had sold a total of 49 acres to 34 customers before authorities acted. It had reportedly sold lunar land for nearly $40 an acre.

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