In response to a report by a U.S. security firm alleging that the Chinese military is responsible for a hacking assault on the U.S., China launched a media campaign to deny the accusations.
As the South China Morning Post reports, the cyber-security company Mandiant released a report on Monday saying that Unit 61398, a secretive Chinese military unit of the People’s Liberation Army, is the most likely driving force behind the hacking attacks.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded on Tuesday, saying the allegations were “groundless, irresponsible and unprofessional.” China’s Defense Ministry followed up Lei’s defense by saying the Chinese military has never supported or engaged in any hacking activity.
The opinion columns ripped into the cyber-attack report too. The Sun, a Hong Kong newspaper, released a commentary saying the “U.S. is playing the trick of the devil rebuking sin. [The hacking allegation] is for sweeping away the lawful barrier of expanding the U.S. cyber military and preparing the cyber war.”
The column also called on the United Nations to create a “cyber code of conduct.”
“It is critical to formulate [a] cyber code of conduct and communication strategy to prevent a miscarriage of justice,” wrote the commentator Feng Haiwen.
In a similar vein, the Macau Daily published an editorial called “U.S. allegation of Chinese hacking threat is out of ulterior motive.” The writer cited an article from Jeffrey Carr, an America cyber-security analyst, as vindication for the Chinese military.
In a blog post entitled “Mandiant APT1 Report Has Critical Analytic Flaws,” Carr wrote, “My problem is that Mandiant refuses to consider what everyone that I know in the Intelligence Community acknowledges – that there are multiple states engaging in this activity; not just China.”
Of course understanding opinions in the Chinese media would not be complete without a look through Weibo, a micro-blogging website that is essentially China’s version of Twitter.
Most Chinese netizens expressed surprise and disbelief at the news. Weibo user All_gossip said, “Pentagon is completely lying to the Congress to ask for money!”
Obviously, the Pentagon did not actually make the report, but that may be a point lost in translation.
Seeing a little humor in the story, Linda_Huli said, “This is an indirect advertisement for Shangdong Lanxiang Vocational School!”
Lanxiang Vocational School teaches cooking, auto repairing, computer literacy and other vocational skills. The school was relatively unknown until a New York Times story in 2010 reported the school was established with support from the Chinese military. The school trains some computer scientists for the military.
And Lidong Loran wasn’t the only Weibo user skeptical of the Chinese government, but Lindong certainly summed up a lot of others’ concerns: “I told you! We cannot believe what the Chinese officials say! How could they admit that our hackers attacked America? Stupid!”