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US is world’s leading cyber thief – Chinese military
May 28, 2014, 11:35 am

Snowden's revelations of the scope of NSA spying has angered key US allies and frayed international relations [Getty Images]

Snowden’s revelations of the scope of NSA spying has angered key US allies and frayed international relations [Getty Images]

A senior Chinese military officer has labelled the United States the world’s biggest cyber-thief a week after a grand jury in Washington indicted five Chinese officers on charges of hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets.

“In terms of both military and political intelligence and trade secrets, the United States is the world’s No.1 cyber thief and its spying force should be indicted,” Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, said.

Sun criticised the grand jury’s decision saying that the US is “a thief crying ‘stop thief'”.

He said Washington’s moves hurt Chinese-US relations and violate protocols of international relations.

Sun’s comments came two days after a report by the China Internet Media Research Center revealed that China has been “a main target” of US secret surveillance and charged Washington of spying on Chinese leaders, businesses, academic institutions, as well as individuals engaged in mobile phone use.

According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, Washington’s National Security Agency (NSA) had previously hacked into Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

NSA spying revealed by the former employee Snowden in documents released to various newspapers – such as Der Spiegel and the Guardian – showed that Washington has spied on at least 35 world leaders in addition to mass surveillance of private citizens and businesses even among key allied countries.

Snowden blew the whistle on Washington’s domestic and foreign surveillance programme and consequently unleashed a torrent of diplomatic tension caused by revelations that the US was spying on ally and enemy alike.

Condemnation of NSA spying from several leaders, such as French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pushed US President Barack Obama to promise to modify the surveillance programme.

In March, Obama announced a package of reforms specifically regarding the collecting and storing of phone metadata.

Nevertheless, Sun said that it “is ridiculous for the US side to say that cyber espionage on political and military intelligence is common practice while the theft of commercial secrets is illegal”.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies