China has strongly condemned the United States' indictment of five Chinese military officials for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
The FBI had issued a Wanted poster for the five military officers accused of cyber espionage. (Photo: FBI0FBI Press Release

China has strongly condemned the United States' indictment of five Chinese military officials for allegedly stealing trade secrets and has suspended its involvement in a cybersecurity working group.

"This US move, which is based on deliberately fabricated facts, grossly violates the basic norms governing international relations and jeopardizes China-US cooperation and mutual trust," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said in a statement.

Alleging that the US accusation against Chinese personnels is "purely ungrounded with ulterior motives," the Chinese government has lodged protest with the US side right after the announcement and has urged Washington to immediately correct its 'mistake' and withdraw the indictment, the spokesperson said.

China hit out on Tuesday accusing the US of being a hypocrite, as it alleged Washington for being involved in wiretapping and surveillance against foreign leaders.

The US government and its institution "have long been involved in large-scale and organized cyber theft as well as wiretapping and surveillance activities against foreign political leaders, companies and individuals, which constitute a violation of international laws and basic norms governing international relations," the spokesperson said.

He said that the US is suffering from 'lack of sincerity' to solve issues related to cyber security through dialogue and cooperation, and therefore, China has suspended activities of the China-US Cyber Working Group.

The strongly worded reaction from China comes after the US attorney general Eric Holder accused the Chinese army officers of illegally accessing computers at five US companies to steal trade information and intellectual property that would give state owned competitors in China an advantage.

The case represents "the first ever charges against a state actor for this type of hacking", Holder told a press conference at which the 31-count indictment was announced.

"The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stole in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response," he said adding that the case should serve as a wakeup call to all countries involved in commercial espionage and hacking against the US companies.

The companies allegedly targeted by the Chinese men were some of the US's biggest industrial companies involved in nuclear power, solar power and metal manufacturing: Westinghouse Electric, United States Steel, Allegheny Technologies, Alcoa and SolarWorld, according to FBI, .

Analysts are of the view that China will never concede to be a perpetrator and will always claim to be the victim instead, especially because it takes situational advantage of the fact that Edward Snowden appeared in Hong Kong last year after having revealed United States' large-scale espionage and spying.

"The US acknowledges that it conducts espionage but says unlike China it does not spy on foreign companies and pass what it finds to its own companies," BBC's China editor, Carrie Gracie wrote.

"Beijing typically shrugs this off as a smear motivated by those who find its growing technological might hard to bear. But to see five named officers of the People's Liberation Army indicted by a US grand jury is not something that can be brushed aside so easily."