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China points finger at America, not North Korea, for cyber attacks – China latest political and current affairs news

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summary of the top news in Chinese politics and current affairs for May 17, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Belt and Road protests, plus online healthcare rules."
4 months ago
Lucas Niewenhuis

While it is being widely reported in Western media that North Korea is the top suspect for the “WannaCry” cyber attacks over the weekend — see “North Korean hackers test China’s patience” in Politico, for example — some Chinese media is insisting that “so far no clues have been uncovered as to who was behind the malicious software.” That is the line taken in an editorial in the state-run China Daily, which focuses on the role of leaked code from the U.S. National Security Agency that laid the groundwork for the attack. The state media outlet accuses the U.S. of hypocrisy on a range of issues, including cyber espionage, restrictions on telecommunications providers such as Huawei, and overall insincerity toward “meaningful dialogue on cyber security.” The piece concludes that “the latest cyber attack should instill greater urgency in China’s efforts to produce its own core technologies, as President Xi Jinping has urged.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times published a story (paywall) that examines why China may be so reluctant to cast suspicion on North Korea, officially its ally, for this cyber attack. In short, such a revelation would be deeply embarrassing to China, whose company China Unicom, analysts note, serves as the main portal to the internet for North Korea. It would also add to the lingering sting of North Korea’s missile launch on May 14 hours before China welcomed a delegation from North Korea to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. The suspicious timing of that missile launch was “not reported in the Chinese state media,” the Times states.

After the ransomware attack, which affected 30,000–40,000 institutions in China, according to various reports, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) announced it would strengthen the cyber security protection at Chinese banks.


By Lucas Niewenhuis
Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
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