China has accused the US states of spying on its foreign officials in an apparent effort to negate negative publicity about Chinese cyber espionage.
The claims were made on Tuesday in a report by the national broadcaster, China Central Television (CCTV), which also alleged the country’s embassy in Australia was bugged by the US when it was built.
The report followed the sudden return to Beijing of China’s Ambassador to Australia, Ma Zhaoxu, on Monday for “a meeting”.
CCTV also said China’s decision to ban government use of Windows 8, Microsoft Corp’s latest operating system, was because of “risks of being monitored and controlled remotely”.
CCTV interviewed Chinese foreign ministry official Zhou Jingxing, who said the ministry had been a victim of US espionage, which resulted in email problems. He did not talk specifically about the Chinese embassy in Australia.
China and the US have traded accusations on espionage and computer hacking for years. But the debate intensified earlier this month following Washington’s decision to lay formal charges against one of China’s alleged cyber-hacking units.
On May 19, the US Department of Justice charged five Chinese military officials with corporate espionage and computer hacking and placed them on the country’s most wanted list.
The latest claims about the Chinese embassy in Australia are not new. In 1995, the ABC and The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australian intelligence officers and US National Security Agency technicians had put bugging devices in the embassy during its construction.
They were repeated in a report released this week by China’s State Internet Information Office. which was titled America’s Global Surveillance Record.