Beijing Reacts to Snowden Claims U.S. Hacked ‘Hundreds’ of Chinese Targets

The state-backed Chinese press enjoyed a moment of schadenfreude over Snowden’s allegations that the U.S. government has infiltrated Chinese electronic targets.

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The China Daily, the Chinese government’s English-language mouthpiece, couldn’t have been handed a better story. On June 13, Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency who exposed a vast American electronic surveillance program before fleeing to Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English-language daily, that the U.S. has for years hacked into Chinese computer systems. After days of silence about the presence of a U.S. whistle-blower on Chinese soil — albeit in a territory governed separately from the rest of the country — the Chinese state media swung into action. “This is not the first time that U.S. government agencies’ wrongdoings have aroused widespread public concern,” opined the China Daily in an editorial. In a separate news article, the official state newspaper wrote that “analysts” believed the bombshells dropped in the Snowden affair are “certain to stain Washington’s overseas image and test developing Sino-U.S. ties.”

(MORE: Snowden in Hong Kong: The Legal Complications of ‘One Country, Two Systems’)

Cybersecurity was one of the many contentious issues U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed during their summit in California last week. For months now, the U.S. government has implicated Beijing in state-sponsored hacking. Western Internet security firms have accused a Shanghai-based People’s Liberation Army unit of mining confidential data from U.S. government agencies, American corporations and human-rights organizations critical of China, among others. Beijing has denied that any such program exists and says that China is also the victim of cyberespionage. Snowden’s testimony to the South China Morning Post certainly adds a dose of conviction to the Chinese government’s claims.

There is, of course, an element of absurdity in Snowden criticizing the “hypocrisy” of the U.S. government’s data-espionage program while seeking refuge in a tiny territory that belongs to the world’s largest surveillance state. Hong Kong, as Snowden has said, places a certain premium on rights like freedom of speech and privacy. China, the territory’s overlord, does not. Perhaps Americans were surprised by their own government’s prying into their online lives, but state eavesdropping is a given in China. On Weibo, the Chinese social-media service, one user commented: “We all know what the Chinese government does to its citizens. The point of the Snowden affair is that an American opposes the American government’s monitoring of its citizens in the name of national security. We Chinese people are so accustomed to government monitoring, so why are we so excited about the Snowden case?”

(LIST: When China’s Netizens Attack: 10 Famous ‘Human Flesh’ Hunts)

Indeed, as the Chinese state press enjoyed a moment of schadenfreude over Snowden’s allegations that the U.S. government has infiltrated “hundreds” of Chinese electronic targets, news trickled out that Du Bin, a Chinese photographer who has worked for TIME, had been detained on May 31. A brave photojournalist and filmmaker, Du has spent much of his career chronicling the plight of those left behind by China’s economic boom and crushed by the vagaries of the country’s justice system. (Du can be held for 15 days without charges.) Earlier this month, a brother-in-law of jailed Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in jail on what human-rights campaigners have deemed trumped-up fraud charges. China needs no whistle-blowers to make known such remarkable cases.

With reporting by Gu Yongqiang / Beijing

MORE: Parents of China’s Toilet-Pipe Baby Feel the Wrath of the Country’s Netizens

111 comments
ysprefer
ysprefer

1984 big brother, no need to mention more, except both China and America are doing it, the difference is their capacity and degree; while US 's declaration of chinese cyberespionage is just more obvious a |theif who shout that other people has stolen him"

JeffChurch
JeffChurch

The Taiwan factor is distant and subtle. Taiwan, among other strong reasons, is why the success of 1 country 2 systems is very important to China. Only under extraordinary circumstance would China act to undermine it.

Of course, if either war broke out or the Chinese mainland cannot exert enough pressure, the success of 1C2S will not be essential. If war has not broke out but enough pressure can be applied , success of 1C2S will be reference basis to other countries including the USA and the people of Taiwan (choice of negotiation over war) to allow slow reunification to take place.

Hong Kong is not under the Chinese mainland's thumb and at its mercy. HK has a great deal of bargaining chips; it coattails Taiwan. Of course, for other obvious reasons, HK has a lot of bargaining power: knowledge and skills over management.

but2star
but2star

AlanZapota

13 minutes ago

@but2star The way you speak of this as a "game" and compare it to prime-time soap operas, it's as though you don't get the seriousness of this at all. This could end up a free-for-all in which these "games" are unravelled. Wars have started over much less. (Recently!)


* * * * *

My reply ...

This kind of big boys games have been going on for decades.  It all depend of who are the big boys ... if the big boys are USA, UK, France, Russian, China ...etc...etc... ... i don't think any war will erupt ... unless some small boys trying to play in some big boys games ... well USA will sure to start a war with those small boys... self explanatory.


Any way, the only player in the above big boys game (NSA scandal)  is USA himself but not others .... so how could any war erupt from a self inflict game ???





but2star
but2star

Many out here may not know the system, the back ground, the history of Hong Kong.   During the 1960s - 1970s Hong Kong was one of the most corrupted nation on planet earth. Hong Kong was then the No 1 corrupted nation in  Asia.  Ever since the formation of Hong Kong ICAC ( Independent Commission Against Corruption ) in 1974 ... thing started to improve tremendously.  From a most corrupt nation today Hong Kong CPI (Corruption Perception Index )  is rank 14th and US is 19th . Not only the Hong Kee are clean but their human rights and freedom can match USA. But the catch is Hong Kong education is raked top 3 in the world and Hong Kee IQ index is world No 1.  And Hong Kong judicial system is world best.

Hong Kong allow asylum seekers  ... and Hong Kong judicial and Hong Kee never buckle under duress.  So let see from here, what can US government do in this special case.  

I am not here to defend Mr Snowden or against him.  I would say, Mr Snowden is a highly intelligence man, whatever he did he has his own reasons.  But if Mr Snowden did flew to Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Canada, UK, India, Singapore etc ...etc... today Mr Snowden is back in US, put into secret cell and he will be sharing the same faith as whistle blower Mr Bradley Manning. 

Just saying .... so far, did Mr Snowden told any US secrets or did he sold any secrets ??? I don't think so. But all he did exposed was " US government is secretly tapping every US citizen phones and emails ".  But according to some US politicians ... By exposing the short comings of a government agency mean Mr Snowden is a traitor.   In Hong Kong, if someone like Mr Snowden, he will be hailed as national hero .... no doubt about it.







JeffChurch
JeffChurch

A few very key persons to the USA are the judges in the Hong Kong courts.

The ultimate judgement is decided by much greater rigor than the  decisoin to whether set bail for  Snowden to  be free to travel within Hong Kong during appeal.

He he could post bail and freely travel within Hong Kong, the PR factor will be great.

JeffChurch
JeffChurch

I sense that many people in the West are very stubborn on a misconception. I am not talking about any ordinary people but otherwise highly educated and informed people.

Here we have an American going to Hong Kong, which has a visa-free access arrangement (without reciprocity) with the USA for 90 days. At the time of his entry into Hong Kong, he was just an ordinary American. He has not said he has faith in mainland China’s legal status. He has not alluded to mainland China in this context. He said that he has faith in Hong Kong’s legal status and Hong Kong’s tradition of free speech.

What does this have to do with mainland China? Relevance to mainland China is a creation from sensationalism.

The presumption is that Hong Kong cannot be highly autonomous. Many cannot even consider that the mainland Chinese leadership from the mid-1980’s had very thoughtfully sought to preserve Hong Kong’s prosperity in perspicuous and sagacious ways. Such has nothing to do with freedom in mainland China.

stevenchaisson
stevenchaisson

Well, I am a natural American citizen, but I must admit, I don't know of any wars China has started with other nations, and I am quite impress with China's reduction of their poverty rate in the last thirty years, 80% to 4%, we have not reduced our poverty rate in 50 years.

Subprimemortgag
Subprimemortgag

At least the Chinese government is open about spying his citizens.  Maybe the USA can learn from that instead of hiding behind the Patriot Act.  Say good bye to cloud computing.

lbuckley7890
lbuckley7890

The moment the US government cries wolf about someone else, chances are, they are doing the same themselves, if not something worse. Remember all that nonsense about WMDs in Iraq? Well, the US used WMDs extensively during their invasion of Iraq.

jesnoon
jesnoon

@TIME @TIMEWorld Snowden is a USA traitor. Needs to turn himself in and face punishment like a man, for turning his back against America.

OldFashionedLiberal
OldFashionedLiberal

We would syre be mad if the PRC did this to us!

What makes us think we have the right to attack other countries at will? Will we ever learn from our mistakes and stop trying to run the world? We're not cruel enough, strong enough, wise enough, or rich enough to succeed at the effort and it makes us look bad to the rest of the world. The cold war is OVER. Let's have the peace dividend and work on our own problems, rather than spending so much time & money attacking other countries!

rorywong654
rorywong654

China knew all along but one thing don't understand is how can US government can lie even without blink the eyes once right in front of the negotiation table

RamAn345
RamAn345

@TIME @TIMEWorld They really don't worry. Most everything there are lies. Thruths are almost nonexistent and when true... For a limited time

GregScott04
GregScott04

@morgfair Isn't it a little hypocritical for them to react to this type of news knowing, full well, that they'd done the same thing?

happle
happle

what's new here? every country hacks every other country - no real news, albeit it does sound a bit hypocritical to accuse others of spying while we are doing the same. anyway, the real news is that american citizens are being monitored without their knowledge. people seem to miss that

xjam13
xjam13

I thought this guy was a hero then he basically is helping our enemy China and defecting to there. From hero to zero inside of a week. Good riddance, hope you like China A-Hole.

ysprefer
ysprefer

I do not understand what you mean, I C 2 S was a proposal brought up long time ago, why Twaiwan and China shall be united as a signle countries, as long as they are both Chinese people, it is enough.

JeffChurch
JeffChurch

Hint: global populace opinion on the current status of Taiwan has little bearing on the future of Taiwan. The global focus will continue to be the prevention of war. American rule will not be different. The question should be whether the Chinese mainland will be able to exert enough pressure on Taiwan without starting a war, to draw Taiwan out for negotiation, with war a possibility but not a reality. I believe the answer will be yes within 20-40 years. US military rule is small as long as war has not started but is quite possible.

but2star
but2star

@JeffChurch 

Very unlikely any of these American judges will be summoned for this case.... no doubt about it. 

richard.draucker
richard.draucker

@lbuckley7890 It's the American mentality.  The fact that America is willing to commit atrocities, violate human rights, spirit people away to secret prisons, commit people to life imprisonment without a trial, and use WMD for political ends causes Americans to assume everyone else is willing to do the same.  

mabdinur85
mabdinur85

@jesnoon @TIME @TIMEWorld How is a man who exposed that you and a countless number of your US population are being snooped on in a direct challenge to your very own charter all the while it is called legal but kept secret from you ... how can a country deem something legal that the population doesn't even know about. The symbol of unflinching Democracy, and a system of values and morals that can last the test of time are being tested right now. Are you willing to sacrifice your very own 4th Amendment for a non-guaranteed security? I am Canadian so I am a bit more objective but after 9/11 people have sacrifice too much for too little.

AlanZapota
AlanZapota

@jesnoon Replace "Snowden" with a long list of names I'm too tired to come up with right now, and you'd be right. I seriously doubt Snowden is turning his back on anything but a wall these days. I wouldn't.

lbuckley7890
lbuckley7890

@jesnoon @TIME @TIMEWorld Do what you please with him. No one cares. But his revelation about US hacking shows all the deceitfulness and rank hypocrisy of US attitudes towards the rest of the world.

For foreigners like us, the Emperor has no clothes and we can all see that.

mabdinur85
mabdinur85

@GregScott04 @morgfair They are not being hypocrites at this point it is more a tongue in cheek response to the US always publicizing that China is hacking them when they were doing the same thing all this time ... China is turning around the mirror and saying "you do it too buddy". China has been calling out the US hypocrisy like the annual Human Rights reports and China launches there own report at the same time pointing at America for things like Gitmo, and probably this draconian spying. It is done to remind the US that they aren't innocent players in the global arena.

richard.draucker
richard.draucker

@xjam13 

Defecting?  Nobody said anything about defecting. 

Snowden said he probably could have defected if he wanted to but has no intention of doing anything to harm the nation.  His sole objective was to make the American people aware of a program that most likely violates the U.S. Constitution and create a dialog among the people about the value of trading freedoms for security. 

You need to work on your reading comprehension skills before you go putting "Lets Go America" stickers on your car windows and start shouting "Shock and Awe, Shock and Awe" every time you drive past a national guard armory.  

My current share of the federal deficit is now about $120K and I'd rather not see it go higher just because people like you are too stupid to comprehend what is really happening. 


duduong
duduong

@xjam13 

If you think China is the "enemy", shouldn't you write a check of $1.2T to pay back the debt and stop telling China that America wants its friendship? If you cannot pay, why should Snowden shoulder the responsibility of being hostile to China alone?

As I have said before, Americans are consummate hypocrites. Thanks for providing another timely example.

LamSam
LamSam

Shows that you are a hypocrite.

To you as long as the people being harmed are not American is ok. Your "moral high ground" is totally bankrupted.

OldFashionedLiberal
OldFashionedLiberal

Snowden deserves a medal!

The people who belong in jail are war-mongering leaders like Bush, Cheney and Obama.

GregScott04
GregScott04

@morgfair Difficult subject and it puts US in uncomfortable position. Certainly, China has targeted US. Not sure of his NEED to release info

jkarp60
jkarp60

@duduong @xjam13 If the 1.2 Trillion was demanded, why would that happen.....Snowden is not hostile to Chine either?

No hypocrisy here my Chinese paid by the comment 

xjam13
xjam13

@duduong @xjam13 Yeah, sure. China sure isn't a hypocrite! They've been doing the same thing for years. Though I doubt you'll ever see a Chinese intelligent analyst with the bravery that some American's have shown recently. 

xjam13
xjam13

@LamSam Yeah, China where it's people don't even have free access to the actual internet, for fear they might see what happened in Beijing in 1989 or any number of things going on in China today. 

If that's moral high ground you can keep it!

Colin
Colin

@xjam13 @duduong

Completely illogic... Even yourself is now watched by the US intelligence. Take care :)

Colin
Colin

@xjam13 @duduong 

I am really wondering how US can be so calm when they are telling lies at the negotiation table! Shameless!

markb3699
markb3699

Right. China is such a noble country. A country where people routinely get thrown in jail for political reasons and have no way to defend themselves from one-sided justice. A country that has run roughshod over Tibet and turned its capital into an ugly ocean of concrete. Wonderful country where you can be jailed for expressing the truth or protesting the heavy handed government. America has its problems. So does China.

duduong
duduong

@xjam13 @duduong 

Unlike the US, China never gives a blanket denial on hacking. It simply disputes the accusations on a case by case basis. If you had actually studied the disputes like I did, you would have found that the evidence is on Chinese side.

Have you ever read the Pentagon's proposal for "Air-Sea Battle"? There are detailed maps after maps of China listing targets to be bombed. Do you ever see an official Chinese documents listing American targets to bomb?

You need to read a little more and learn to think logically. American media is a loose based web of decentralized propaganda, which actually makes it more dangerous and effective than the centralized kind found in China. 

If this whole Snowden scandal teaches us anything, it is that the secret oppression and wrongdoing in democratic America may in fact be worse than their open counterparts in authoritarian China.

jkarp60
jkarp60

@duduong @xjam13 Tell the Tibetans that or how about everyone in the South China Sea.....because it has China in its name does not mean it belongs to China......

Especially the Philipines....not the smartest nation in the area....

Taking on the Chinese because they believe they have sovreignty up to the shoreline in the Philipines!!!!!


xjam13
xjam13

@duduong @xjam13 Really that's funny I just read an article one of many where China is insulted that someone thought they might be hacking. I don't know what country you're talking about who threatened to invade China. You sound like a Republican with your use of facts, but I guess you're just a Chinese national being paid by a corrupt Government. Have fun in your country run by crooks. 

duduong
duduong

@xjam13 @duduong 

Quite the contrary, China does not hide the fact that it monitors its citizens' web activities, so there is no whistle to blow in the first place.

Furthermore, China does not insult or threaten to invade other countries for spying on their own people. It also does not pretend that it does no hacking.

It is really hard to come up anyone on earth who is as dishonest or hypocritical as the Americans.