China hits back at German diplomat’s claims it is avoiding talks on cybersecurity, VPNs

Beijing has ‘repeatedly invited a German delegation’ to discuss the issue, foreign ministry spokeswoman says

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2017, 8:27pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2017, 8:49pm

Beijing on Wednesday dismissed claims made by Germany’s top diplomat in China that it had not responded to requests to hold bilateral talks on cybersecurity issues.

German ambassador Michael Clauss told the South China Morning Post last week that Berlin’s “repeated requests to have a meaningful dialogue” on virtual private networks and other cyber-related questions with relevant Chinese authorities had “regrettably not yet received a positive response”.

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Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, however, that Clauss’ comments were not “constructive” and “not in line with the facts”.

“China has repeatedly invited a German delegation to China for consultation, but Germany has never responded on time,” she said. “It’s unreasonable for Germany now to criticise Beijing for not being sincere.”

China was “open to having exchanges with Germany on cybersecurity affairs”, she said.

Virtual private networks allow Chinese internet users to access websites and social media platforms that the ruling Communist Party deems obscene or subversive.

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Many of the world’s most popular sites and services, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and many foreign news sites, are blocked in China.