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The Latest: China accuses US of ‘fabricating facts’

December 21, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Chinese cyberespionage (all times local):

10 p.m.

China has accused the U.S. of “fabricating facts” after it charged two Chinese hackers with carrying out an extensive campaign to steal trade secrets and other information on behalf of Beijing’s main intelligence agency.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement Friday that the indictment severely violates the basic norms of international relations and damages U.S.-China cooperation.

Hua calls the charges “completely vile,” adding that the U.S. is the one that has long engaged in “cybertheft.”

U.S. officials say the alleged hackers obtained information on several major American corporations and nearly a dozen other nations.

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9:15 p.m.

New Zealand has joined a growing list of countries accusing China of cyber theft.

New Zealand’s international spy agency says it became aware of the campaign in early 2017 and that it runs counter to commitments that China and other member nations of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group made in 2016.

New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) says it has established links between the Chinese Ministry of State Security and a global campaign of cyber-enabled commercial intellectual property theft.

GCSB Director-General Andrew Hampton says some of the targeted service providers were operating in New Zealand.

Hampton says New Zealand is committed to upholding rules-based international order and joins other partner nations in saying such cyber theft is unacceptable.

China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner.

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11:45 a.m.

The British government has accused China of conducting a “widespread and significant” campaign of cyberespionage against the U.K. and its allies.

The Foreign Office says a group known as APT 10, acting on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security, carried out “a malicious cyber campaign targeting intellectual property and sensitive commercial data in Europe, Asia and the U.S.”

It says the group “almost certainly continues to target a range of global companies, seeking to gain access to commercial secrets.”

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says China’s actions “go against commitments made to the U.K. in 2015 and as part of the G20 not to support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property or trade secrets.”

The U.K. announcement came as U.S. officials unsealed an indictment against two Chinese citizens accused of cyberespionage.

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10:30 a.m.

The Justice Department is charging two Chinese citizens with carrying out an extensive hacking campaign to steal data from U.S. companies.

An indictment was unsealed Thursday against Zhu Hua and Zhang Shillong. Prosecutors say they were acting on behalf of China’s main intelligence agency.

Court papers filed in Manhattan federal court allege the hackers were able to breach the computers of more than 45 entities in 12 states. The victims were in a variety of industries from aviation and space to pharmaceutical technology.

Prosecutors charge that the hackers were able to steal “hundreds of gigabytes” of data.

Court papers say they hacked computer service providers to gain access to the networks of businesses and governments in order to steal intellectual property and business data.

Chinese intelligence officials and hackers. A case filed in October marked the first time that a Chinese Ministry of State Security officer was extradited to the United States to stand trial.

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