Al Jazeera English's Listening Post discusses media security, including the alleged Chinese cyber-attacks on US newspapers
Isabel Lin writes for EA:
China Denies Hacking US Media
Chinese officials have denied claims by leading US newspapers that Beijing pursued cyber-attacks against them.
The New York Times said Chinese hackers have carried out “sustained attacks” on its computer systems, breaking in and stealing the passwords of high-profile reporters and other staff members.
According to The Times, the cyber-assaults began last October, after the paper published the investigative reporting of its Shanghai bureau chief David Barboza about the property holdings of family members of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
Barboza’s microblog account was gagged for some time last year. Both the English- and Chinese-language sites of the Times are currently banned in mainland China.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that its computer systems had been invaded. The paper said the attack was over its coverage of China, rather an attempt to gain commercial advantage or to steal customer information.
A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, "All such alleged attacks are groundless, irresponsible accusations lacking solid proof or reliable research results." The Ministry of National Defense said the country's military "has never supported any hacker activities".
Professor Liu Deliang, director of the Beijing-based Asia-Pacific Institute for Cyber-Law Studies, said the accusation was nothing more than an excuse for the US to “wage wars on network security” with its trade protectionism and economic sanctions. Deliang said the American accusation also demonstrated the intent of the US to seek "hegemony" in cyber-space.
Religious Policy Remains Unchanged
Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, said on Monday that the Communist Party's policy on religious affairs will remain unchanged, respecting religious freedom.
The Party's fundamental religious policy declares that it will administer religious affairs according to law, the principle of independence, and self-governance, as well as guiding religion to make it adapt to a socialist country.
Yu said, "Only by implementing the policy can China withstand the infiltration of overseas-based hostile forces that make use of religion."
331 criminal suspects repatriated to China in 2012
Chinese police had 331 criminal suspects repatriated from abroad in 2012 under joint efforts with their foreign counterparts, the Ministry of Public Security announced on Tuesday. The police also repatriated 25 fugitive suspects to relevant countries last year.
In a high-profile case, Myanmar drug lord Naw Kham and his men were arrested last year in a joint operation conducted by police from China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand, following the brutal murder of 13 Chinese sailors. The gang is believed to have engaged in drug trafficking, kidnapping, murder, looting, and other crimes along the Mekong River for many years.
Naw Kham was sentenced to death late last year.
To boost international cooperation, the ministry sent 37 groups of police officers abroad for investigation and evidence collection in 2012. It also helped 21 groups of police officers from overseas to collect evidence in China, the ministry's figures show.
Chinese police conducted 27 joint investigations and operations with countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the US, including major trans-national criminal cases over gun smuggling and telecommunications fraud.
The ministry said it will further boost international law enforcement cooperation in the future to crack down on terrorism, drug and human trafficking, telecommunications fraud, gun smuggling, and organised gambling and prostitution.
Restriction on Baby Formula in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has announced measures to curb the amount of baby formula that mainland Chinese visitors can buy, as anger grows at shortages in the city’s stores ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Food and Health Secretary Ko Wing-man said legislation would be amended to prohibit taking more than 1.8 kilogrammes (4 pounds) of formula past Hong Kong’s borders. The amount is equal to two cans of formula.
Mainland Chinese have increasingly looked abroad for baby formula following a series of tainted-formula scandals. In 2008, tainted formula killed six babies and made another 300,000 infants ill.
Subsequently, Yili Industrial Group recalled infant formula because of “unusual” levels of mercury. Hunan Ava Dairy Industry Company said it found a cancer-causing toxin, linked to mildewed cattle feed, in five batches of baby formula.
The change in the Hong Kong law is primarily aimed at "parallel" traders from mainland China, who buy up consumer goods that also include cosmetics, toiletries, and electronics for resale. Parallel trading is frowned upon by local residents, but is not illegal.
Divorce Case of Founder of “Crazy English”
The divorce case of Li Yang, the founder of the “Crazy English” learning system, came to an end last Sunday, with a judgment to pay 12 million yuan ($1.9 million) to his American ex-wife Kim Lee in property division. Lee also won full custody of their three daughters.
In 2011 Lee sued Li for domestic violence and bigamy, also blaming him for lack of dedication to his children.
Li admitted that he has committed domestic violence to his ex-wife and apologised to her on his microblog late last year.
Lee inadvertently became a folk hero for battered women. Domestic violence is not often discussed in China, where tradition holds family conflicts to be private and where many still consider women subservient to their husbands.
Lee said she would continue to live with her daughters in China because of their education.