S. M. Hali
Among the various reforms introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping to enhance China’s development profile include liberalizing the economy, augmenting industrialization, supporting agriculture, cracking down on corruption and boosting its defence industry. China watchers and critics keep Xi Jinping under close scrutiny. His supporters liken him to Deng Xiaoping, who liberalized the economy in the 1980, whose fruits modern China is reaping. His detractors tend to find faults and sometimes draw parallels with Vladimir Putin, while other look for excuses or allegations to downplay China’s across the board rise.
It is Chinese psyche not to blow its own trumpet or crow in advance regarding its achievements. During, US President Barack Obama’s visit to China, Aviation Industry Corporation of China unveiled its highly anticipated J-31 twin-engine fighter jet at an air show late last year. The stealth fighter J-31 is generally presented to be a rival to the American F-35 and Russian Sukhoi-35. The aircraft’s manufacturer, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, caused a stir when its president, Lin Zuoming, said the jet could “take down” the F-35.
Unfortunately, instead of matching Lin Zuoming’s claim with statistical data and comparison of performance profiles of the J-31 and F-35, baseless allegations are being leveled that Chinese spies stole key information on the F-35 Lightening II fighter. German magazine Der Spiegel, which cited documents disclosed by former U.S. intelligence contractor and notorious whistleblower Edward Snowden, that Chinese cyber spies stole “huge volumes” of sensitive military information relating to the plane.
Responding to the false accusation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei retorted at a daily press briefing declaring that “The allegations are totally groundless and unproven.” Hong reiterated that China has been the victim of cyber attacks and cyber security is a common challenge of every country. He said it was extremely difficult to confirm the sources of cyber attacks as they usually involved several countries and were hard to backtrack.
“I don’t know what proof they hold to back up their accusations,” said Hong.
“We, on the other hand, do have documents that show a certain country has a dishonorable record on cyber security,” the spokesman said.
He called for an end to finger pointing and urged nations to fight cyber hacking together.
The Pentagon has previously acknowledged that hackers had targeted sensitive data for defence programmes such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but stopped short of publicly blaming China for the F-35 breach. The Pentagon and the jet’s builder, Lockheed Martin, which is producing the F-35 for the US military and allies in a US$399 billion project, the world’s most expensive weapons programme, had said no classified information was taken during the intrusion.
Snowden’s 2013 revelations of the broad reach of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) spying programme sparked international outrage. Unfortunately, on the one hand the Occident tends to downplay disclosures by whistleblowers like WikkiLeaks and Snowden as being based on dubious sources, yet a hullaballoo is being raised at the latest allegations against China’s J-31 programme although the source is Snowden.
Citing “top-secret documents” from former National Security Agency (NSA) employee Snowden’s archive, Der Spiegel also reveals that the NSA is “planning for wars of the future in which the Internet will play a critical role” and seeking the ability to destroy enemy infrastructure remotely. The cache of documents also show that the NSA and its Five Eyes partners have penetrated China’s espionage agencies, such as infiltrating the computer of a high-ranking Chinese military official and accessing information about Chinese intelligence targets in the US government and other foreign governments.
It is high time that the west give credit to Chinese designers and accept that they are capable of coming up with original plans and blueprints do not rely on stolen or borrowed ideas.
On the other hand, cybercrime is an abhorrent practice which must be contested by joining forces and discourage unwarranted disclosures. The media too must refuse to provide space to baseless allegations and information acquired through dubious means.
May 21, 2018 0
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily