Washington owes world explanations over spying accusations
Updated: 2013-06-23 12:13
BEIJING -- Edward Snowden, a US intelligence contractor who divulged some of the most secretive spying activities of the US government, has put Washington in a really awkward situation.
In the past few months, US politicians and media outlets have thrown out Internet spying accusations one after another against China, trying to make it as one of the biggest perpetrators of Internet spying activities.
And those claims were even highlighted during a highly anticipated summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama held earlier this month in California, which had been designed to help the world's two biggest economies to build a new type of major power relations.
All this has seemed to go relatively well until the revelation of the US National Security Agency's PRISM surveillance program.
According to Snowden, the US government has engaged in wide-ranging dubious spying activities not only on its own citizens, but also on governmental, academic and business entities across the world.
Latest reports from Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, which seems to have access to Snowden after he fled to the Chinese territory, revealed that Washington has hacked into the computer systems of major Chinese telecom carriers and one of the country's top universities.
These, along with previous allegations, are clearly troubling signs. They demonstrate that the United States, which has long been trying to play innocent as a victim of cyber attacks, has turned out to be the biggest villain in our age.
At the moment, Washington is busy with a legal process of extraditing whistleblower Snowden.
But for other countries, Washington should come clean about its record first. It owes too an explanation to China and other countries it has allegedly spied on. It has to share with the world the range, extent and intent of its clandestine hacking programs.
The drama around Snowden also tends to support China's stand on the issue of cyber security.
Both the United States and China, together with many other countries, are victims of hacking. For the uncharted waters of Internet age, these countries should sit down and talk through their suspicions.
With good intentions, they can even work for the establishment of certain rules that help define and regulate Internet activities and mechanisms that can work out their differences when frictions do arise.
The ball is now in Washington's court. The US government had better move to allay the concerns of other countries.