Beijing vents frustration about hackers taking over Chinese networks to launch cyberattacks on Russia
Calling the US a “hacking empire” of the world, the Chinese foreign ministry urged Washington to stop “malicious” cyber activities following reports that American hackers subverted a network in China to launch attacks on Russia and Belarus.
“China is gravely concerned about cyberattacks against other countries that originate from the US and use China as a springboard,” foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters at a press briefing on Monday.
Zhao was commenting on recent Chinese media reports that hackers, mainly from the US but also from NATO allies Germany and the Netherlands, recently hijacked a Chinese computer network for cyberattacks, 87% of which targeted Russia.
“Against the background of the Ukraine situation, such a move may produce the negative effect of misleading the international community and spreading disinformation,” Zhao said, pointing out that “a former US senior official called publicly for launching cyberattacks on Russia not long ago.”
This appeared to be a reference to Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state and presidential candidate, who made such calls in a MSNBC interview at the end of February.
While Beijing doesn’t know the exact role of the US government in the hacker attack, or if it is linked to the “long practice of smearing China in cyberspace” by the US, Zhao called for Washington to “adopt a more responsible attitude.”
Meanwhile, the White House said on Monday that the US has threatened China with “significant consequences” if it helped Russia in any way, during the lengthy talks in Rome between national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese envoy Yang Jiechi.
Multiple Western outlets claimed over the weekend that Moscow had asked Beijing for military aid for the conflict in Ukraine. Zhao called such claims “disinformation” coming from the US.