News / Asia

Spying Revelations Affect US-China Cyber Security Talks

A copy of the South China Morning Post newspaper, carrying the latest interview with Edward Snowden, is displayed on a newspaper stand along with local Chinese newspapers, in Hong Kong, June 13, 2013.A copy of the South China Morning Post newspaper, carrying the latest interview with Edward Snowden, is displayed on a newspaper stand along with local Chinese newspapers, in Hong Kong, June 13, 2013.
x
A copy of the South China Morning Post newspaper, carrying the latest interview with Edward Snowden, is displayed on a newspaper stand along with local Chinese newspapers, in Hong Kong, June 13, 2013.
A copy of the South China Morning Post newspaper, carrying the latest interview with Edward Snowden, is displayed on a newspaper stand along with local Chinese newspapers, in Hong Kong, June 13, 2013.
VOA News
As the United States increases pressure on Russia to extradite fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, experts in China and Hong Kong - Snowden’s first choice of refuge - are beginning to gauge what impact his revelations will have on the ongoing efforts for global cyber security.

Before boarding a plane to Moscow, the former National Security Agency contractor told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post that the intelligence agency was monitoring telecommunications within China, and had targeted Tsinghua University, one of Beijing’s most prestigious schools, famous for training many of China’s current top leaders.

The school runs one of China’s six Internet backbones, the China Education and Research Network, through which the data of millions of people pass.

Benjamin Koo, a professor at Tsinghua’s department of mechanical engineering, says Snowden’s allegations, if true, suggest that the United States may have access to a huge amount of personal and academic data.

“This would be a severe violation of privacy to say the least,” he said. “Not to say [a violation of] intellectual property and also the ideas that we might want to keep to ourselves.”

Snowden’s allegations come ahead of next month’s U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, S&ED, where cyber security will be a prominent issue.

Since 2011 the Obama administration has named China as the source of a significant amount of cyber attacks against American government agencies and businesses.

This year the Department of Defense has for the first time officially attributed these attacks directly to the Chinese government, or agencies within China’s military apparatus.

In response, the Chinese government has repeated statements saying that China is itself a victim of attacks, with officials at China’s internet security agency, CNCERT, linking many of those attacks to the United States.

Many analysts within China agree that government-backed cyber surveillance is a standard occurrence in a country that is defending its interests in the digital age.

“If the NSA is funding a big program to do this, I would imagine - based on proportion - there will be a lot of politicians on our side that would be saying we should be putting a lot of money into it too,” says Koo, “Whoever is holding the lower end in this game is not going to feel comfortable.”

Media reports have linked some research centers in China, including Beijing’s Tsinghua University, to Chinese military-backed training centers for cyber-warfare against Western targets.

Nicholas Thomas, Associate Professor at the Department of Asian and International Studies of City University of Hong Kong, says that China has been very active in pursuing asymmetric warfare capacity.

“This is a lesson going back 20 years,” he says. “China has realized that U.S. information warfare capacity far exceeded its own and could prove to be the decisive factor in any conflict.”

But apart from cyber attacks for military and intelligence purposes, the United States has blamed China for stealing intellectual property from U.S. businesses as well.

A report released in the United States earlier this year calculated a loss of hundreds of billions of dollars each year due to Chinese hacking into commercial entities in the United States.

Analysts say that the report, which was published before the informal meeting in California between President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping, increased the level of public pressure on Mr. Obama to raise the issue during those talks.

Wu Riqiang, professor of international relations at Beijing’s Renmin University, says that it is unlikely that recent revelations about NSA spying on China will have a substantial impact on next month’s discussions on cyber security during the S&ED.

At the same time, Wu believes that Snowden has put the United States in an awkward position.

“The Snowden affair might dilute the attention that people in the United States put on hacking for economic motives,” he says.

Tsinghua University professor Benjamin Koo says that the allegations of the United States spying on academic centers in China is going to open up new territory in the two countries’ discussion on cyber security.

“It makes the two countries stand on the same footing,” he says.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid