China demands answers from US over spying claims

March 24, 2014

China said Monday it was demanding an explanation from Washington over allegations U.S. intelligence agencies hacked into the email servers of Chinese tech giant Huawei and targeted top Chinese officials and government institutions.

Beijing is "gravely concerned" about the claims and demands that any such spying be stopped, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing.

"China has made many representations to the U.S. We urge the U.S. to give a clear account and stop similar acts," Hong said.

German weekly Der Spiegel and The New York Times said the NSA began targeting Huawei in early 2009. The reports cited secret U.S. intelligence documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The alleged spying began around the time that concerns were growing in Washington that the telecommunications equipment manufacturer was a threat to U.S. national security.

Der Spiegel also claimed the NSA targeted officials including former President Hu Jintao, as well as ministries and banks.

Although China has been accused of sponsoring a vast cyberspying effort, Hong repeated Beijing's claims that it opposes such actions.

"We consistently believe Internet communication technologies should be used to develop a country's economy in a normal way, and not be used in stealing secret information, phone-tapping and monitoring," Hong said.

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