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Friday, 8 February 2013

Losing Face

Chinese Intimidation Brings Shame

In recent days the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other media companies claim to have been subject to cyber-attacks originating from China.  The theory is that the Chinese government takes an aggressive approach to Western media articles that are critical of the Chinese government. 

The hacking is directed to the e-mail accounts of journalists in an attempt to find their sources and those to whom they have been talking.  If so--the cyber-world is murky secretive, murky place--the attempt amounts to a deliberate attempt to silence critics of the regime in China and cut off negative news stories about the government. 

The Chinese government officially rejects such allegations as ridiculous, claiming that Chinas too has been subject to cyber-attacks.  However, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and now Twitter have all reported coming under overt cyber-attacks.   This from the NZ Herald:

Earlier, the New York Times said it had faced repeated hacking attacks as it prepared a story tracing the hidden riches of the family of Wen Jiabao, the country's Premier.  The revelations came just weeks after Chinese authorities forced a New York Times reporter to leave the country. Two months after the paper's Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, authored the account of the billions amassed by Wen's relatives, Beijing refused to renew a visa for his colleague Chris Buckley.
Ultimately, such behaviour by the Chinese government results in a significant loss of face.  It degrades the Chinese government in the eyes of other peoples.  Such actions only serve to offer proof of the graft, corruption and simony of Chinese leaders.
The attacks on the New York Times first came to light when the story on the Wen family's finances, which used public records to estimate that the Premier's relatives "have controlled assets worth at least US$2.7 billion [$3.2 billion]", was published on October 25. Warned of "consequences" for its investigation, the paper asked AT&T, the telecoms firm which monitors its computer network, to keep an eye out for unusual activity. AT&T detected hacking activity the day the article went up on the New York Times website.
A nation built upon "fragrant grease" will always end up sliding back into the swamp.  

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