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Report of campus espionage rubbished

By EARLE GALE in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-07-04 09:23

China has reacted with indignation to a media report that claims a Chinese company tricked university students and graduates into engaging in digital espionage.

A spokesperson for China's embassy in London said the claim, reported in the Financial Times, amounted to "a malicious denigration of the Chinese government and slander on the Chinese students".

"It is sheer nonsense and a blatant violation of the professional norms of fairness, impartiality, and objectivity of journalism," the spokesperson said.

The embassy said the allegations look to be part of a pattern of "groundless accusations and smear attacks" against China from "some forces in the West motivated by ideological bias and narrow political self-interest".

'Unexpected' move

It added: "It is rather unexpected that Financial Times should become a mouthpiece for the US and the UK intelligence agencies."

The strong rebuttal followed the newspaper's claim that vague job advertisements for translators posted on university websites were actually from a company that was a front for Chinese intelligence agencies. The paper said the advertisements sought to recruit people for a "secretive technology company" and "masked the true nature of their jobs", which it said was "researching Western targets for spying and translating hacked documents".

The paper said the applicants were asked to translate sensitive documents from US government agencies as part of their recruitment process.

While it admitted Western intelligence agencies routinely recruit university graduates, the paper said the difference is that the Chinese graduates were "unwittingly drawn into a life of espionage".

China's embassy spokesperson said the recruitment drive never happened and insisted that "China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity and also a main victim of cyber theft and attacks".

"It is widely acknowledged who is the No 1 secret stealer in the world," the spokesperson said. "For a long time, the US, while using its technological advantages for massive and indiscriminate eavesdropping on the world, keeps placing smear attacks and unjustified suppression against other countries under the pretext of national security."

The spokesperson said Washington was "playing the trick of a thief crying' stop thief'".

"China's position has been consistent and clear: that we firmly oppose and combat cyberattacks and theft in all forms," the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said China moved to protect digital information through 2020's Global Initiative on Data Security, through which nations were urged to commit not to use information technology to destroy critical infrastructure or steal important data from other states.

"The initiative provides a constructive solution for safeguarding global data and online security."

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