Cybertheft allegations by the US are 'absurd'

Updated: 2014-05-22 03:05

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)

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Washington's reasoning behind the indictment of five People's Liberation Army officers for spying is absurd, said the Chinese ambassador to the United States.

The US justified the move by claiming that the officers stole confidential business information and sensitive trade secrets of US companies. Washington defended its own attacks on other countries' cyberspace as a means to safeguard national security.

"I don't know how they can make a distinction between such activities," Ambassador Cui Tiankai said in an interview with CNN aired on Tuesday.

"How do they explain the attacks on Chinese companies, universities and even individuals? Is that for national defense? Or is that for other purposes?"

Beijing denounced the US indictment as "purely ungrounded and with ulterior motives" and demanded that the US withdraw the indictment. Beijing announced it would suspend work on a joint cybersecurity working group.

The Ministry of National Defense warned that the US move would endanger military relations.

The distrust is increasingly costing businesses.

Beijing said on Monday it would prohibit the use of the Windows 8 operating system in new government computers to ensure security following the end of technical support for Windows XP.

US equipment and software providers such as IBM and Cisco Systems have already seen their sales in China drop after former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's revelations began to emerge last year.

Li Yuxiao, director of the Institute of Internet Governance and Law under Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said, "US technology companies will suffer a lot in the Chinese market amid China's distrust of the security of American products due to the US government's global cyberspying".

Du Yuejin, head of the National Institute of Network and Information Security, said it is necessary for the government to check the security of US technology products.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Tuesday that the US did not expect China to react well to the indictments and that the Pentagon wants to keep lines of communication open.

Cui said, "It's really amazing to see that some people still believe they have the moral high ground and credibility to accuse others, if we consider the Snowden revelations, and so on and so forth".

Snowden's leaks showed that the National Security Agency had engaged in widespread hacking of Chinese government and military entities as well as companies and universities.

Cui said China had a long list of well-known Chinese companies that have been attacked by such activities from the US.

Cao Yin contributed to this story