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China Denies Any Role in 'GhostNet' Computer Hacking

Beijing officials deny any involvement in the electronic spy ring dubbed "GhostNet," which has infiltrated more than 1,000 computers around the world and has been linked to computers in China.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang rejected allegations of a link between the Chinese government and a vast computer spying network. He said in Beijing on Tuesday that the accusation comes from people outside China who, "are bent on fabricating lies of so-called Chinese computer spies."

Qin says outside of China there is a "Cold War Ghost." He says people haunted by this ghost also suffer from a virus called "China threat," which he says makes people want to tarnish China with lies.

News reports this week said Canadian researchers discovered the so-called GhostNet spy network when the Dalai Lama's organization asked them to examine its computers for harmful software.

The Canadian researchers say it is not clear the hacking is government supported. They did conclude that GhostNet's servers are almost exclusively located in China, and its targets are political, including NATO, the Indian Embassy in Washington and Tibetan exile centers in India, Brussels and London.

The Canadian report says there are real consequences to the spying. For example, when the Dalai Lama's organization sent an e-mail invitation to a foreign diplomat, the diplomat was contacted by the Chinese government and told not to go through with the meeting.

When asked if the Chinese government is concerned that computers in the spy ring are in China, Qin said it is more important to track down the people outside of China who were making these accusations.

He says the Dalai Lama and his supporters "always live on lies and twisting facts."

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of most Tibetans. He has been in exile for 50 years and has long advocated greater autonomy from China for Tibet, an idea that Beijing firmly rejects.

Two researchers at Cambridge University in England released their own report about the Tibet-related activities of the spy ring. They more directly implicate the Chinese government, but also warn that these hacking methods could easily be adopted by criminals and others.