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Drop hacking charges or ties suffer, warns China

2018-12-21 HKT 10:09
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  • Pictures of the two alleged hackers displayed during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington. Photo: AP
    Pictures of the two alleged hackers displayed during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington. Photo: AP
Beijing on Friday lodged an official protest and accused Washington of "fabricating facts" after the US Justice Department indicted two Chinese hackers and alleged they were tied to mainland security services.

China said the US should drop the prosecution "to avoid serious damage to the relations between the two countries".

We urge the US to "stop smearing the Chinese side on cyber security issues," the foreign ministry said.

Beijing also accused Washington of "blame-shifting" and of carrying out hacking attacks against other countries.

"It has long been an open secret for the relevant departments of the United States to conduct large-scale and organised network theft and monitoring and monitoring activities against foreign governments, enterprises and individuals," said the statement, attributed to foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

In charging the two alleged hackers, the Justice Department said the group they work for targeted firms which help other companies manage their information technology systems – potentially giving attackers an entry into the computer networks of dozens of companies.

“We urge the US side to immediately correct its erroneous actions and cease its slanderous smears relating to internet security,” it said, adding that it would take necessary measures to safeguard its own cybersecurity and interests.

US prosecutors indicted two, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shillong and said they were linked to the Ministry of State Security intelligence agency. They are charged with stealing confidential data from American government agencies and businesses around the world.

Western governments, including US allies Britain and Australia, also have accused Beijing of cyber-attacks.

The Foreign Ministry said Britain and other countries had also made “slanderous comments” stemming from “ulterior motives”. Beijing warned other countries to "stop deliberate defamation of China, so as not to damage... bilateral relations". (AFP, Reuters)