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China Reform Monitor - No. 821
China-based hackers compromise nine Indian embassies;
Beijing sends patrol boats to escort fisherman in South China Sea
Edited by Joshua Eisenman
May 4, 2010
The day after Vietnam’s President Nguyen Minh Triet visited one of the country’s installations on the Spratly Islands and vowed that Hanoi will protect its sovereign territory, China sent ships to patrol the archipelago. Two Chinese patrol vessels will accompany fishing vessels in the South China Sea for at least a month. The decision, taken just after the departure of Vietnam's deputy foreign minister from China, marks the first time patrol boats will protect fishing boats in the contested waters. Hanoi is still demanding the "immediate and unconditional release" of a Vietnamese fishing boat and its 12-man crew captured by China on March 22, the South China Morning Post reports.
The Economic Times reports that a year after it was first discovered that a China-based cyber espionage network compromised Indian embassies investigators have uncovered the full extent of the espionage. Indian embassies in nine countries including the U.S., UK, Germany, Afghanistan, Russia, the UAE, and Nigeria were infected. But it is now known that for years the spy ring mined over 35 computers belonging to the India’s National Security Council Secretariat, Air Force, and the Army's Military Intelligence. While there is no conclusive proof linking the hack to China’s government, Canadian researchers have traced the attack to Chengdu, Sichuan; where a People's Liberation Army technical reconnaissance bureau responsible for monitoring signals intelligence collection is located.
Russia’s Politcom.ru has published a biting political commentary describing China’s state-run oil firms’ behavior in Venezuela and elsewhere as “new colonialism.” “On the one hand, they [Chinese extractors] are operating successfully throughout the world and on the other hand, they are increasingly often charged with new colonialism, in which they go to underdeveloped countries that are rich in natural resources, in order to extract more quickly as much raw material as possible by any means.” The author cryptically concluded that “Russian companies have outstripped their Chinese competitors” in Venezuela because they have been willing to take on “expenditures unacceptable for the Chinese.”
Extreme weather over much of China over the last several months has peaked concerns about climate change in Beijing, the South China Morning Post reports. Beijing blamed climate change for a massive sandstorm last month that sent pollution to peak levels in Japan and Hong Kong. Snowstorms have devastated the north and caused chaos in Xinjiang, while drought has ravaged the southwest. In Shanghai the Huangpu River is swelling close to the undersides of bridges and the tops of its containing dykes. In response Beijing has charged a team of high-level scientists with investigating causes for the sudden and severe weather. Shanghai has announced that in case of a catastrophic environmental disaster it is building three massive survival shelters each capable of housing up to 10,000 people comfortably for more than a month.
China has rescinded its policy of giving domestic products preferential treatment in government procurements of information technology equipment, according to a posting in the China's Science and Technology Ministry’s website. The "buy China" rules, which Beijing introduced in November, faced fierce opposition from Japanese, the U.S. and European companies. The new policy removes the "in China" requirement, allowing foreign companies to take part in bidding for Chinese government IT contracts if they own intellectual property rights and comply with Chinese regulations. A Japanese government official said it would be necessary to examine the language of the ministry's statement in detail "to see whether there are other conditions attached to the new rules,” the Daily Yomiuri reports.
[Editor’s Note: The rule in question had stipulated that products suitable for government procurement should be "intellectual properties owned by or developed in China" and trademarked items were only acceptable "if those trademarks are first registered in China."]