China slams indictments over cyber snooping

Updated: 2014-05-20 08:08

By Chen Weihua in Washington (China Daily USA)

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China reacted strongly on Monday to US announcement of indicting five Chinese military officers for alleged cyber theft.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang described the US move as "based on fabricated facts" and "grossly violates the basic norms governing international relations and jeopardizes China-US cooperation and mutual trust".

Qin said China has lodged its protest with the US right after the announcement and has urged the US side to immediately correct its mistake and withdraw the "indictment".

On Monday, the US Justice Department charged five members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army of conducting economic cyber-espionage against US companies. It was the first time that the US has filed such a charge against another nation.

"The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response," Attorney General Eric Holder told a news conference.

Westinghouse Electric, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies Inc, United States Steel, the United Steel Workers Union and Solar World are some of the targets of the alleged Chinese hacking.

But the US side did not say whether the alleged Chinese hacking is also for military and national security reasons, a pretext the US has been using all the time to defend its widespread cyber espionage against other nations, as revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden revelation showed that NSA has engaged in widespread hacking activities against not only Chinese government and military entities, but also Chinese companies and universities.

The actual picture of NSA hacking activities is believed to be much larger since only 1 percent of the 58,000 files received by The Guardian from Snowden have been made public, according to the newspaper editor Alan Rusbridger.

In Beijing, spokesman Qin said China has decided to suspend activities of the China-US Cyber Working Group given the lack of sincerity on the part of the US to solve issues related to cyber security through dialogue and cooperation.

The working group was set up last year by the two governments to deal with bilateral cyber security concerns.

"China will react further to the US 'indictment' as the situation evolves," he said, without saying whether China will retaliate by indicting US officials responsible for the rampant NSA hackings against China.

Qin said China is steadfast in upholding cyber security.

"The Chinese government, the Chinese military and their relevant personnel have never engaged or participated in cyber theft of trade secrets. Th