A scientist who heads a U.S. high-tech company has been charged with illegally selling rocket technology to China and offering bribes to Chinese officials, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Shu Quan-Sheng, 68, made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Norfolk and is being held in jail until a bond hearing Monday.

Shu, the president of AMAC International Inc. in Newport News, is charged with two counts of violating the federal Arms Control Act and one count of bribery. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years on each arms count and five years for the bribery charge.

It could not be determined whether Shu has hired a lawyer. A phone message left at his company was not returned.

According to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday, Shu sold technology to China for development of hydrogen-propelled rockets. The Chinese government is developing a space launch facility in the southern island province of Hainan that will house liquid-propelled launch vehicles designed to send space stations and satellites into orbit.

The complaint also accuses Shu of bribing Chinese officials to award a $4 million hydrogen liquefier contract to a French company acting as an AMAC intermediary.

Shu is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Shanghai. His company also has offices in Beijing.

Federal authorities in recent years have prosecuted more than a dozen cases of either traditional spying or economic espionage related to China. U.S. officials have warned in the last year of increasing espionage efforts by Beijing.