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  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 9:08pm
Edward Snowden

America's prying eyes have been focused on China 'for years'

State media denounce a long-running US campaign of hacking and espionage

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 10:53pm

US intelligence agencies have been spying on China via land, sea, air and cyberspace for years, including a failed attempt to acquire confidential information about China's fourth-generation stealth fighters, according to state television reports.

The official website of China Central Television reported over the weekend that US intelligence agencies have for years spared no effort to access classified information from China, including by using reconnaissance satellites, surveillance aircraft and numerous monitoring posts.

The national broadcaster said, the Americans had also been making use of advanced technology to hack into Chinese cyberspace for up to 15 years.

The report came after revelations made by former Central Intelligence Agency employee Edward Snowden suggesting that US intelligence agencies had been hacking millions of civilian computers throughout the world, in addition to recording phone conversations. The allegations sparked public outcry over the invasion of privacy.

CCTV also reported that the US had failed in an attempt to steal secrets about China's stealth fighters by sending agents to infiltrate facilities and pay bribes in exchange for information from researchers at Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, which is affiliated with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), a state-owned aerospace and defence giant. No mention was made of when the alleged espionage occurred.

The aircraft maker, based in Chengdu, Sichuan, was responsible for the research, development and manufacture of the Jian-20 stealth fighter, which underwent a successful test flight a couple of years ago.

A phone operator at the US embassy in Beijing said yesterday that no duty officer was available for comment.

Retired People's Liberation Army Colonel Yue Gang, who is familiar with intelligence-related affairs, said that he was unaware of any US attempt to obtain intelligence on the J-20.

"We can hardly verify the authenticity of attempted espionage, which could have happened as far back as five years ago," the colonel said.

And even if it did take place, according to the former PLA officer, the Chinese side might not have enough evidence to make any arrest.

"In another possible scenario, the suspect(s) may have been caught, and the Chinese side subsequently used them in exchange for Chinese agents caught by their US counterparts, in a clandestine manner," he said.

Similarly, China's official army newspaper yesterday branded Prism, the US Internet surveillance programme exposed by Snowden, as "frightening" and accused the US of being a "habitual offender" when it came to network monitoring.

The 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 comments are some of the most scathing to appear in China's state-run press following Beijing's refusal to make an official comment.

"US intelligence agencies 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."

Additional reporting by AFP


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This article is now closed to comments

It's interesting to compare the headlines in the SCMP and Apple Daily (shown in the photo that comes with this article). I can't really read the headline on Apple Daily from this photo but it's about something that has nothing to do with the Snowden case. How amazing that they decided to print something trivial when the world's attention is focused on the Snowden case here IN HONG KONG! I am speechless...
As if the PLA has been not doing the same for decades. Who is surprised that two nations that have nukes pointed at each other are interested in knowing what the other guy is up to before he actually does it? Remember those big Goldstone receivers the Brits had pointed at Red China before the Handover? China's open threat to use the Carrier Killer missile in the Asia theatre might also be cause for concern, as might its stated willingness to use force to reclaim Taiwan. They each have satellites, spy planes and assets in each others' nation, as we have seen from the various plants stealing R&D on high tech programs in the US. Now China has Snowden to point to.
so, you raved, cried and criticised china when they did the same but when it comes to US, it is ok?
Before CCTV continues to comment about the case, perhaps it's the high time to consider to have its name changed to anything but CCTV as its name has long been ridiculed as the abbreviation as Closed Circuit TV which has a strong sense of surveillance in the first place. How about CNTV? It's time for China to gather some smart people and resources on improving its public image.
Is this a Secret? China spies on just about all Western countries, who in turn do the same....I think peoiple are being naive.
hard times !
as regards to cyberspying committed by nations, both Mainland China and America have long been doing the same things.Yet China's cyberspying scale is far more smaller than the America's, it can be sure ! America's cyberspying activities cover the whole world:She is responsible for her citizens all over America and Latin America plus Japan and Koreas and northern China (especailly Beijing of course) and Middle East plus Russia (east or Mt.Ural) while Britain,her closest ally is responsible for Europe and Russia (west of Mt.Ural) and Africa.Australia, another close ally, responsible for India,southern China (including our Hong Kong) while Canada,her neighbour,responsible for Arctic Region and even New Zealand has to be responsible for South-west Pacific( the small nations are no exemption !) America's cyber-surveillance activities is worldwide and large-scale.The equipment and fund for cyber-spying activities done by the above-mentioned countries are all provided by America---their boss and they are just out-sourced workers only.In 2009, during the G20 summit meeting, Russian President Putin's phone calls and e-mails were hacked by Britain's GCHQ, similar to the NSA and both secret agencies have close relationship (like sisters) according to 'The Guardian' --one of the newspapers which interviewed leaker, Mr.Edward Snowden.
Cup Noodle TV?
Perhaps the revelation this time will stop the "sources" from continuing supplying future exclusive stories about China to the 'Fruit Post' in future. The 'fruit post' might also be a victim by the revelation?


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