China subjects tech firms to checks amid spat with US

Xinhua cites ‘national security’, ‘economic development’; specific companies not named

Tags: ChinaCyber crimeUSA
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China subjects tech firms to checks amid spat with US Beijing officials have described US policies on Internet security as ‘overbearing and hypocritical’. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  May 22, 2014

China will subject IT suppliers to scrutiny to determine if they are a hazard to "national security" or "economic and social development", Reuters reported, citing state news agency Xinhua.

The decision, attributed to China's State Internet Information Office, comes days after a diplomatic row erupted between Beijing and Washington over US federal prosecutors' indictment of five Chinese military officers for cyber crimes.

"The introduction of such a system will be the most effective legal basis for safeguarding China's Internet security and will also have a significant role in promoting the construction of China as an Internet powerhouse," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

While no company or nation was singled out in Hong's remarks, Xinhua quoted Jiang Jun, of the State Council Information Office, as saying, "For a long time, governments and enterprises of a few countries have gathered sensitive information on a large scale, taking advantage of their monopoly in the market and technological edge. They not only seriously undermine interests of their clients, but also threaten cyber security of other countries."

Chinese media outlets yesterday referred to the US government as a "high-level hooligan" and Xinhua reported that Zheng Zeguang, assistant foreign minister, had characterised US policies on Internet security as "overbearing and hypocritical" during a Monday meeting with US Ambassador to China, Max Baucus.

The day after that meeting, China's Central Government Procurement Centre banned the installation of Windows 8 on public sector computers, strangely choosing to cite energy efficiency and Microsoft's cessation of support of separate legacy OS Windows XP. While no official reference was made to the diplomatic spat, Communist Party newspaper, the People's Daily, today claimed the ban was imposed because officials were concerned that Windows 8 allows remote monitoring and hijacking of systems.

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