Beijing has demanded a clear explanation from Washington over reports of espionage by the US National Security Agency (NSA) on Chinese institutions.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, said on Monday that Beijing is gravely concerned about the claims and demands that any such spying be stopped.
“China has already lodged many complaints with the United States about reports of its espionage activities,” the Chinese official added.
The spying revelations were reported by the German weekly Der Spiegel and the US daily New York Times, which said the NSA began targeting Chinese telecoms giant, Huawei, in early 2009.
According to the reports, the NSA had hacked into the email servers of Huawei and targeted several government institutions.
Der Spiegel also said that the NSA targeted Chinese officials, including former President Hu Jintao during his reign, as well as ministries and financial institutions.
The reports cited secret US intelligence documents leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Snowden, who is currently staying in Russia after Moscow granted him political asylum, caused a major headache for the US administration when he revealed US spying programs around the world last year.
The Snowden leaks have sparked global outrage. The documents detailed vast intelligence collection by the NSA on dozens of world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
US President Barack Obama said in December 2013 that Snowden’s leaks did unnecessary damage to America’s spying operations. “The way in which these disclosures happened has been damaging to the United States and damaging to our intelligence capabilities,” Obama added.
Snowden’s revelations have caused uproar in the US regarding privacy rights. They have also angered many US allies whose leaders were targeted by the NSA.
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