Chinese Defense Ministry on Thursday denounced the U.S. Justice Department after it charged Chinese military personnel for alleged hacking and stealing data from a U.S. company, warning such behavior could further damage bilateral military ties.
The ministry's spokesman Wu Qian said indictments are totally groundless, and they are hegemony practices and judicial bullying and that China strongly opposes and denounces such actions.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday announced the indictments against four members of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) – Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke, and Liu Le – worked to steal personal information including Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers.
Barr said they hacked into the systems of credit agency Equifax in 2017, stealing the personal information of more than 145 million Americans in one of the biggest data breaches in history.
Wu said such accusations are totally groundless as the Chinese military never engages in any kind of Internet hacking activities. China always firmly defends global Internet security and the Chinese government always strongly opposes and combats illegal cyber activities, he told reporters during a regular briefing.
The Chinese military never engages in or participates in any form of cyber theft, he added.
Wu went on denouncing internet and phone surveillance conducted by the U.S. government.
He said the U.S. has been conducting "large-scale, organized, undifferentiated" Internet theft and surveillance targeting foreign governments, enterprises, and individuals for a long time, and such behavior violates international law and the basic norms of international relations.
Speaking of Internet security, Wu said the U.S. applies double standards.
The U.S. government applies double standards when it comes to cybersecurity, and its actions are very hypocritical, he said.
"We ask the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistakes and withdraw its prosecution, so as not to further damage the relations between the two countries and the two armed forces."