News / Asia

Alleged NSA Snooping Target is One of China's Internet Hubs

A banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is displayed at Hong Kong's financial Central district on June 21, 2013
A banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is displayed at Hong Kong's financial Central district on June 21, 2013
Reuters
China's Tsinghua University, revealed by an American spy agency contractor to be a target of U.S. surveillance programs, is home to the country's oldest Internet hub and routes traffic from tens of millions of users.
 
The alma mater of many of China's top leaders including President Xi Jinping and former President Hu Jintao, Tsinghua's campus in northwestern Beijing hosts the China Education and Research Network (CERNET), one of China's six major backbone networks, according to state media.
 
“Tsinghua is known as the 'MIT of China',” said Duncan Clark, chairman of Beijing-based technology consultancy BDA, referring to the premier U.S. university, the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.
 
“It has strong research and technical capabilities,” Clark told Reuters in e-mailed comments. “It also produces a lot of the nation's future elite [in government and business]. So it's not surprising, I guess, that it's a target.”
 
The university did not respond to requests for comment.
 
But, in an interview with the Communist Party-backed Beijing Youth Daily, an unnamed official from Tsinghua's information department denied that it was the target of a U.S. cyber attack, saying that “reports that Tsinghua was hacked into are inaccurate”.
 
A TV screen shows the news of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in the underground train in Hong Kong Sunday, June 16, 2013.A TV screen shows the news of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in the underground train in Hong Kong Sunday, June 16, 2013.
x
A TV screen shows the news of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in the underground train in Hong Kong Sunday, June 16, 2013.
A TV screen shows the news of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in the underground train in Hong Kong Sunday, June 16, 2013.
On Saturday, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper said documents and statements from the contractor, Edward Snowden, indicated the NSA had hacked major Chinese telecoms companies to access text messages, attacked Tsinghua University, and hacked the Hong Kong headquarters of Pacnet, which has an extensive fiber optic submarine network.
 
Snowden, who is wanted by the United States government, fled Hong Kong on Sunday to Moscow. He has asked for asylum in Ecuador.
 
Set up in 1994, CERNET was designed to provide Internet services to China's educational institutions, according to its web site. It connects 160 cities in China and more than 2,000 of China's universities and research institutes, including Beijing's other top university, Peking University, and Shanghai's Jiaotong University.
 
CERNET, which is operated by China's ministry of education, says on its website that it is China's “largest non-profit computer network and hosts the world's largest national academic network”.
 
Luo Ping, a professor of Internet security at Tsinghua, said he had warned in research papers about U.S. attacks on China's backbone networks about five to six years ago.
 
“Those of us who do network security have known very early on that the National Security Agency has entered the backbone networks in China,” Luo said. He did not however specifically comment on Snowden's claims.
 
In 2007, local media reported that Tsinghua's network had sustained large-scale virus attacks in 2006 and again in 2007, affecting over 10,000 computers on campus. The university was forced to shut down many infected computers to contain the virus.
 
“I believe they've taken some measures, but are still relatively weak,” Luo said.
 
China on Sunday expressed “grave concern” over Snowden's allegations that the United States has hacked into Tsinghua and Chinese mobile network companies, and said it had taken the issue up with Washington.
 
When asked why Tsinghua could have been targeted by the United States, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing on Monday that she was “not in a position to answer this question”.
 
“Ask the party who conducted the attacks,” Hua said.
 
Both China and the United States accuse each other of cyber attacks and the issue was top of the agenda when President Barack Obama hosted Xi at their first summit earlier this month.
 
China later said it wanted cooperation rather than friction with the United States over cyber security.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid