China calls US ‘quite arrogant and selfish’ following cyber espionage accusations

China on Friday ripped the U.S. following the Department of Justice (DOJ) charging two hackers linked to China’s intelligence and security agency for their involvement in a decadelong cyber espionage campaign against companies in the United States and around the world.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said “the Chinese government has never participated in or supported anyone in stealing trade secrets in any way.”

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“The U.S. is a world superpower, and it’s quite arrogant and selfish,” she said during a regular press briefing, according to The Associated Press

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena MORE and other DOJ officials on Thursday announced the indictment of Chinese nationals Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong for allegedly compromising companies across many industries in the U.S. and at least 11 other countries by targeting managed service providers, which hold intellectual property and other sensitive business information.

“The kind of information that we are talking about here is confidential information, and by definition, valuable — very valuable — information for these companies,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said.

Officials said the hacking violated a 2015 deal meant to halt cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property.

“The activity alleged in this indictment violates the commitment that China made to members of the international community,” Rosenstein said. “We want China to cease its illegal cyber activities and honor its commitment to the international community.”

Rosenstein added that China is linked to over 90 percent of Justice Department economic espionage cases over the past seven years.

“China’s state-sponsored actors are the most active perpetrators of economic espionage,” Wray echoed. “While we welcome fair competition, we cannot and will not tolerate illegal hacking, stealing or cheating.” 

Officials said Thursday that the cyberattacks were committed in “association” with China's Ministry of State Security.

The hackers are being charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The indictment was filed by prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York and unsealed Thursday. The hackers are believed to be in China, with which the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty, and are thus likely out of reach of U.S. officials. 

The Trump administration has taken a hard-line stance against Chinese economic espionage, revealing in October that an intelligence officer working for China’s Ministry of State Security had been extradited to the United States to face charges of conspiracy to steal trade secrets from major U.S. aviation and aerospace firms.