Tsinghua University students on alleged US hacking: 'Truth is more important than national interest'
The Post yesterday reported Edward Snowden's claims that the US National Security Agency had hacked into computers at Tsinghua University, one of the mainland's leading research institutions. Students give their reactions
Martin Guo, 21, third-year electronic engineering student:
"I'm a bit concerned about the internet safety issue … because it means our personal data is not safe any more. Students also jokingly blame our slow internet on the cyberattack by the US. But the case has very little impact on ordinary people like me, as I don't think the US wants to know anything about me. I believe Snowden is a traitor as he betrayed the trust of his country."
Frank Shi, 21, third-year engineering and physics student:
"I'm not surprised about the attack given the fact that Tsinghua is the best science university on the mainland. Also, I do understand the reason behind the cyberattack as the US had to do that to fight against terrorists and keep its own country safe. I think it is acceptable and understandable for its national interest. I believe Snowden is an idealist who had a dream to become a hero one day, hence he revealed the information to seek the limelight. I remember he said to the media that he did this for the public interest, but I don't buy it."
Qian Yiqi, 22, third-year medical student:
"I believe Snowden is a hero, but only because our media have portrayed him as a hero fighting against the US government. I think the US has a good reason for doing these things, but the project should have been announced to the public because the citizens at least have the right to be informed. If the government had released such information earlier I think the public would understand."
Lobo Zhang, 22, third-year industry engineering student:
"The US government did this to protect its citizens. There is neither absolute freedom nor absolute safety, so I think it is OK to give up some freedom in exchange for a more secure state … most of my classmates don't care about Snowden's case for two reasons, one is that Chinese are accustomed to these kind of attacks as our government does it all the time. The second reason is that democracy and freedom are not that important to us as for other people in the world, like Hong Kong."
Du Xiaoyu, 19, second-year business management student:
"I've only read the brief details of the story through social media. To me, it's normal that the US government had Tsinghua as its major target. The computer lab of our school is really state-of-art and it handles many national classified projects. I know many people see him as a hero, but I think that's because we are living in an age without heroes and people need heroes. Is it true that he did all this and suffered so much to tell the truth to the public? No one is that great and selfless, I believe … I just hope he will not get murdered by some mysterious killers.
Daniel Chen, 20, second-year physics student:
"I was angry when I saw that our school was under a US cyberattack. I'm really annoyed and no wonder the internet is very slow. I think Snowden is a hero because he follows the truth and sticks to his heart even if the path ahead of him is tough. I think the truth is more important than the national interest. Snowden did that for the general interests of the whole world and I respect him."
Nathan Hobbs, 28, an American who recently graduated in computer science:
"There has to be some kind of balance. As long as there is no concrete evidence saying there is something happening at Tsinghua that is a threat to the US, it's not acceptable just to monitor daily internet activities at Tsinghua or other public universities. I can't think of a good case why a government has the right to do that. It would be completely unacceptable for China to monitor US public universities. I can understand the US government wanting to monitor the servers here but that doesn't make it acceptable. I'm very happy that Snowden revealed the information to the public."