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US using fake cyberattacks to cry wolf

China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-02 07:24
A projection of cyber code on a hooded man is pictured in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

Editor's note: Some Western media outlets have alleged China might be trying to use cyberattacks and surveillance to influence the results of the US midterm elections. Such baseless charges will only widen the trust deficit between the United States and China. Two experts share their views with China Daily's Pan Yixuan on the issue. Excerpts follow:

Cooperation, not baseless accusations, needed

Who is the most powerful player in cyber warfare? The answer can be found in the PRISM scandal exposed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013, and the mighty cyber capabilities of US National Security Agency and the disastrous damage it could cause, as revealed by the WannaCry virus last year.

It is ridiculous therefore for the biggest cyber power, complete with a cyber army and massive internet intelligence network, to "cry wolf" now and then.

Many US politicians love to use the "China-bashing card" in the run-up to the presidential and midterm elections, while some politicians and media outlets try to win seats in the two houses of the US Congress for the party they support, by displaying their tough stance against China without even bothering to check whether their allegations are true.

Actually, some media outlets spread panic among the US public by grossly exaggerating China's cyber capabilities-for example, some of their reports claimed Chinese companies had planted chips in the products of US technology giants, and that China spied on US President Donald Trump's iPhone.

Such tricks won't benefit the American public, not to mention global internet governance. China, too, has fallen victim to hackers. And to improve global cyber governance, cooperation, not finger-pointing, is needed.

By making China a scapegoat for all its ills, the US is an apt example of the "political decay", as mentioned by Francis Fukuyama.

Shen Yi, director of the Cyberspace Governance Research Center at Fudan University

China-bashing during elections an old trick

Some US politicians and media outlets have claimed China is meddling in the US midterm elections. However, they don't have any evidence to prove their claim, although Trump remains in the shadow of investigations into suspected Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

The opposition of US special prosecutors, the Democratic Party and the American public to Trump and his Republican Party is so strong that the Republicans fear they could lose the Senate as well as the House of Representatives to the Democrats in the midterm elections. So the Trump administration is using populist measures and trade frictions with China (which the US triggered in the first place) to divert public attention from the real issue.

The rising wave of populism and the yet-to-be-settled "Russia gate" scandal could have made some in the US suspects in foreign interference in the midterm elections bringing back memories of the days of McCarthyism. So, by accusing China of "meddling" in the US' internal affairs, some US politicians are trying to avoid becoming suspects in foreign interference scandals.

Also, China is being accused of meddling in the US' internal affairs because of the intensifying US-China trade frictions, because the US strategy is focused more on containment and less on engagement.

True, China and the US both face challenges, and have to settle bilateral disputes in order to increase mutual trust. But that doesn't mean China will accept groundless accusations.

Chen Xiangyang, executive director and researcher at the World Politics Institute of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

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