U.S. companies such as Yahoo Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, Microsoft Corp
and Facebook Inc threaten the cyber-security of China and its
Internet users, said the People's Daily on its microblog, in
comments echoed on the front page of the English-language China
It is not clear what sparked this latest round of vitriol, nor what
information the U.S. firms are alleged to have stolen. But Chinese
media have repeatedly attacked American tech companies for aiding
the U.S. government's cyber espionage since U.S. National Security
Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed widespread spying
programs including PRISM.
Under PRISM, the NSA seized data from companies such as Google and
Apple, according to revelations made by Snowden a year ago.
Chinese state-owned firms have since begun dispensing with the
services of U.S. companies such as IBM Corp, Oracle Corp and Cisco
in flavor of domestic technology. As a result, Snowden's revelations
may cost U.S. companies billions of dollars, analysts say.
"U.S. companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc.
are all coordinating with the PRISM program to monitor China," the
People's Daily said on its official microblog.
"To resist the naked Internet hegemony, we will draw up
international regulations, and strengthen technology safeguards, but
we will also severely punish the pawns of the villain. The priority
is strengthening penalties and punishments, and for anyone who
steals our information, even though they are far away, we shall
punish them!" it said.
Google has already had problems in China this week. On Monday, a
China censorship watchdog said Google services were being disrupted
ahead of Wednesday's 25th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on
pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
"We cannot say this more clearly - the (U.S.) government does not
have access to Google servers - not directly, or via a back door, or
a so-called drop box," said Google Chief Legal Officer David
Drummond in an emailed statement on Wednesday. "We provide user data
to governments only in accordance with the law."
Microsoft declined to provide immediate comment. Facebook, Yahoo,
Apple and Cisco were not immediately available when Reuters sought
comment by telephone and email.
Facebook is currently blocked by Chinese censors, but said last
month it may open a sales office in China to provide more support to
local advertisers who use the website to reach customers overseas.
[to top of second column]
In December, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and other
Internet companies issued an open letter to U.S. President Barack
Obama and Congress to reform and introduce restrictions on
Even so, U.S. tech companies have had a rocky time in China since
the NSA revelations. Just last month, central government offices
were banned from installing Windows 8, Microsoft's latest operating
system, on new computers.
But the U.S. has responded with its own measures. In May, the U.S.
Department of Justice charged five Chinese military officers with
hacking U.S. companies to steal trade secrets.
The indictment sparked outrage in China and added urgency to
Beijing's efforts to promote the development of local information
technology (IT) companies.
Chinese media called the United States "a high-level hooligan" and
officials accused Washington of applying "double standards" on
issues of cyber spying.
After the charges were announced, China said it will investigate
providers of important IT products and services to protect "national
security" and "economic and social development."
(Reporting by Paul Carsten and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by
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