Western accusations that Chinese military hackers have broken into foreign government computers are a variant of the "China threat" theory, a leading Chinese military scholar said yesterday.
"China is a responsible country and we never do this kind of despicable things," said Yang Yi, director of the Institute of Strategic Studies under the National Defense University.
"As a matter of fact, China has never had so called military hackers," he said, reacting to allegations against the Chinese army.
London-based The Guardian reported yesterday that Chinese hackers have launched online assaults against the UK Parliament and Foreign Office networks.
The Guadian report came two days after the Financial Times, citing unnamed officials, said the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had hacked into a computer system of US Defense Secretary Robert Gates' office in June.
On the eve of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Beijing last week, the German language weekly Der Spiegel said computers at the chancellery and three ministries had been infected by Trojan horses.
The Financial Times quoted Germany's domestic intelligence agency as saying that the incident was linked to the PLA.
But no valid proofs on the three allegations have been provided so far.
"Although we stick to the road of peaceful development, many countries still see China with suspicion and guess subjectively if anything strange happens," Yang said.
Technically, hackers in other countries could use insecure computers and networks in China to disguise their locations and launch attacks, he said.
"China pursues a defensive strategy and will never be the first to launch an attack. Any military move is conducted in line with this strategy," Yang said.
On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the hacking accusations are "groundless" and only reflect a "Cold War mentality".
"China has all along been opposed to and forbids criminal activities that undermine computer networks, including hacking," Jiang said.
"Hacking is an international problem that torments China, too. We are ready to strengthen cooperation with other countries, including the US, in countering Internet crimes," she said.
(China Daily September 6, 2007)