China paper hits out at US surveillance programme

A young computer expert studies at an internet security training centre, on February 14, 2013
A young computer expert studies at an internet security training centre, on February 14, 2013. China's official army newspaper has branded the United States Internet surveillance programme exposed by former spy Edward Snowden as "frightening", and accused the US of being a "habitual offender" when it comes to network monitoring.

China's official army newspaper on Sunday branded the United States Internet surveillance programme exposed by former spy Edward Snowden as "frightening", and accused the US of being a "habitual offender" when it comes to network monitoring.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily hit out at the US for implying that spying on citizens from other countries was justified, and said that the PRISM monitoring programme had probably been used to collect large amounts of data unrelated to anti-terrorism operations.

The remarks about the programme are among the most scathing to appear in China's state-run press following Beijing's refusal to make an official comment.

"US are 'habitual offenders' with regards to network monitoring and espionage," the article, attributed to the PLA's Foreign Languages Institute, said.

"There is reason to believe US intelligence agencies, while collecting anti-terrorism information online have also 'incidentally' collected a lot of information in other fields."

Under the so-called PRISM programme, the US can issue directives to like or to gain access to emails, online chats, pictures, files and videos that have been uploaded by foreign users.

"US President Obama has said that PRISM is not directed at US citizens," the article said.

"The implication is that for the purposes of US security, monitoring citizens of other countries is not a problem. This simple, overbearing logic is the frightening aspect of the PRISM programme.

"The US government says that PRISM is concerned with anti-terrorism, and does not involve any other matters. But anyone with intelligence expertise can tell this is admitting ones guilt by protesting innocence."

The PLA Foreign Languages institute is China's top military language training facility, and is thought to be a key training-ground for Chinese intelligence officers.

The article also accused the US of spying on its own citizens, saying that it had "clearly... not been established" that US intelligence agencies had only used the programme to monitor foreign nationals.

China has stayed tight lipped following the revelations from the former US government subcontractor, which included claims of US hacking directed at China and which came amid tensions between Washington and Beijing about online .

On Thursday China's foreign ministry gave little insight into Beijing's thinking.

"I have no information to offer," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing.

Snowden, who is in hiding in Hong Kong, has vowed to fight any attempt by the US to extradite him from the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

The issue of cyber-security has emerged as major point of contention between the US and China, with US President Obama discussing the issue with China's top leader Xi Jinping at a summit earlier this month.

China and its military have denied that it engages in hacking attacks on foreign countries, despite multiple reports of extensive hacking operations carried out by PLA operatives against foreign targets.

China for years carried out extensive monitoring of its own citizens Internet use, and has previously imprisoned several political dissidents based on emails obtained from US-based service provider Yahoo!.

The China Daily Thursday cited an analyst who noted the irony that the US's surveillance programme was exposed just as it began ramping up pressure on Beijing.

"It turns out that the biggest threat to the pursuit of individual freedom and privacy in the US is the unbridled power of the government," the paper quoted China Foreign Affairs University researcher Li Haidong as saying.


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Jun 17, 2013
True. But we should pull back on the hyperbole against China. It's sort of hypocrtitical to keep harping on China for cyber-attacks when the US has been doingthe same for years, too.

Both sides are evil (OK, that's not really a news falsh). There is no 'good guy' in (super)power politics.

It would just be a lot or honest if they would own up to being evil - instead of pretending (to their own people or the world) that they are the good guys.

Evil people I can stomach - liars I cannot.

Jun 17, 2013
Trying to put the US intelligence gathering program and China's state sponsored corporate espionage as being equivalent is like trying to say that my buddies weiner dog is as good at protecting his house as my rottweiler is at guarding mine.


Jun 17, 2013
Trying to put the US intelligence gathering program and China's state sponsored corporate espionage as being equivalent is like trying to say that my buddies weiner dog is as good at protecting his house as my rottweiler is at guarding mine.

I agree. The US is far more aggressive in its hacking/eavesdropping activities (heck, they're even listening in on the companies in ALLIED countries to sell trade secrets to US companies. What do you think all those directional antennas in US military bases around the world -pointed straight at high tech centers in the relevant countries - are for? They're not even trying to hide what they're doing.)
All the more hypocritical by the US to call on China for hacking.

No. China is certainly not being victimized, here. But this crying of 'foul' by the US over being hacked/spied on is completely ridiculous.

It's just their own attitude coming back to bite them. Not so nice being on the receiving end, eh?

Jun 17, 2013
This feels a bit like being lectured by the Pope on how to pick up women. I can only imagine the authors must have been chuckling all the time they were writing it.

It's diversion, of course. We (the United States) could play too - we probably do. They are full of inconsistent behavior - the Great Firewall, treatment of minorities, dealing with corruption, etc.

Unlike China, with our greater freedom of expression, the U.S. government doesn't have to concern itself with working through proxies - it just happens.

Jun 18, 2013
You don't believe in truth. According to you it carries no information.

Go away.

I see you still believe in truth by voting on posts you haven't even read. You have a very 'interesting' notion of what truth is: Truth from ignorance (which is about par for the course for religious nutcases).

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