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

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid