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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid