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The judge committed fouls, too

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

08-05-2015 15:05 BJT

By Wang Lu, freelancer based in California, U S

Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’ s visit to the United States in September, cyber-espionage once again has become the center of media attention.

In the last two years, two alleged cyber-espionage cases rocked the already-frayed US-China relationship.  This month, Office of Personnel Management and United Airlines suffered data breaches, resulting in the loss of millions of federal records. In wake of the alleged China-initiated cyber-attack, the US government is holding classified meetings weighing retaliation options.

A well acknowledged fact is that America spies – both domestically against its own citizens, and overseas against world leaders. In 2013, the feisty British newspaper <The Guardian> reported that NSA has spied on 35 world leaders, including those of its allies such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Barely recovered from this diplomatic face-slap, the US government already opened up a new front in cyber warfare – this time as the victim - with China.

But on what ground? Why is it that it's morally acceptable for NSA to tap Chancellor Merkel’ s cell phone, but it’s despicable for a Chinese hacker to break into United Airlines’ database? According to whisperers from DC, that is because political espionages have been the norm, but economic espionages “crossed the line”.

It’s a dubious argument at best. The “line” is clearly drawn to protect the US government’s self-interest. Political espionages can be more damaging to the victims’ interest, and always have far-reaching economic implications. No one is naïve to believe that spying on world leaders has nothing to do with America’s economic interest.

The argument is also factually erroneous. The line has been crossed plenty of times by the US. In the not-so-distant past, Americans were the economic pirates of the West. Mass production machinery designs were frequently stolen from the British shore, undermining Britain’s key source of export revenue.

All espionages are a fact of life in today’s world, but none is morally acceptable, much less superior, to others. America should stop criticizing others on a moral high ground, but focusing on beefing up its own cyber security.  Next time if some 15-year-old prankster from Sweden breaks into Pentagon’s computer system and “publishes” whatever he sees fit, feigned outrage amounts to little more than prime material for Saturday Night Live.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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