Following this week’s revelations of the NSA’s Prism program, by whistle-blower Edward Snowden and further revelations that the US is hacking China, the Chinese media have been quick to point out the hypocrisy of the US government, and well for good reason.
The Global Times wrote that China deserves an explanation for PRISM, explaining:
“Snowden’s exposure has upgraded our understanding of cyberspace, especially cyber attacks from the US, which is probably a much sharper weapon than its traditional military force. This weapon has demonstrated the US’ hypocrisy and arrogance. Besides Snowden’s disclosure, it is still unknown what else the US, a country which once condemned China for cyber attacks, has done to China.”
Jia Xiudong, a senior researcher of US studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said on Thursday that the US has a double standard on cybersecurity, and “its accusation about China is hypocritical and without evidence”.
“When it comes to cybersecurity, what the two countries should do is cooperate and resolve their differences and conflicts through dialogue,” Jia said.
Ever since the US released its defence White Paper, early last year, on its “Pivot,” the US has consistently accused China of cyber espionage. There’s no doubt that China has conducted cyber espionage and hacked US website, its only obvious as espionage is an activity carried out by all national security organizations. However, it’s questionable over whether these accusations were released intentionally for the purposes of the US “pivot.”
Marking probably the most hypocritical press briefing in diplomatic history, Alec Ross, the U.S. secretary of state’s senior adviser for innovation, back in March said “Many Middle Eastern countries, Russia, China and others I believe, are going to take an increasingly aggressive stand to try to control the Internet.”
“In a world where countries like Russia, China and others are in a completely different place than the United States and when there is a completely different vision for how the Internet should be governed, then I think it’s going to be very difficult to get to the point of resolution on some of these issues.”
Ross continued by arguing that China, Russia and others had bought surveillance technology, but lacked the limits required in the United States, where only a judge can order their use for a defined period.
“So part of what I see are billions and billions of dollars of investment going into the next generation of surveillance technologies going into these countries,” Ross said.
More recently Chuck Hagel US Secretary of Defence and expert in Orwellian doublethink, said in his speech to delegates at the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore, “The United States has expressed our concerns about the growing threat of cyber intrusions, some of which appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military.”
“As the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China have many areas of common interest and concern, and the establishment of a cyber working group is a positive step in fostering U.S.-China dialogue on cyber. We are determined to work more vigorously with China and other partners to establish international norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace.” Said Hagel
The revelations disclosed by Snowden, point to the pure hypocrisy of the US government, publicly accusing Beijing of carrying out espionage activities, which has always been a double sided activity. Even more so these revelations give validity to the argument that the accusations were intentional, aimed at furthering the US “pivot.” A 2013 poll, which was jointly conducted by PIPA and GlobeScan, reveals the positive images of China fell 16%, while negative images of China rose by more than 25% amongst respondents. If the hacking accusation were intentional, they certainly achieved their objectives, creating a mass propaganda campaign, to convince people that China is the global bogeyman, while the US is attempting to maintain peace and stability in a troubled region.
The hypocrisy goes even deeper than just the accusations of hacking. For many years now the US government has criticised China for their strict web monitoring, blocking foreign sites and “the Great Firewall.” However, the revelations of the Prism program, provides evidence that the US is not only monitoring web users on a global level, but also that leading US corporations are cooperating with the NSA, on a far larger scale than China’s own web monitoring activities. This not only gives China justification for blocking major sites such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Youtube, but also provides proof that the US is carrying similar web monitoring on a much more advanced scale.