China has never hacked anyone, President claims, as cyberattack claims put 'enormous strain' on relationship with US

US advisors have said that hacking between the nations need to stop so that relations can improve — but China has said that they never started

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China’s President has denied that the country has ever hacked anyone, in a claim that has been mostly rejected by security professionals.

The US has warned that hacking from China needs to stop and was putting “enormous strain” on the relationships between the two countries. But President Xi Jinping has flatly denied claims that the country steals secrets from the US and companies based there.

“China takes cybersecurity very seriously,” Mr Xi, who is visiting the US this week, told the Wall Street Journal. “China is also a victim of hacking.

“The Chinese government does not engage in theft of commercial secrets in any form, nor does it encourage or support Chinese companies to engage in such practices in any way.

“Cybertheft of commercial secrets and hacking attacks against government networks are both illegal; such acts are criminal offenses and should be punished according to law and relevant international conventions.”

The claims have been rejected by security professionals, who say that traces of Chinese involvement are often obvious in such cyberattacks. But companies continue to operate in the country because of the huge amounts of money that can be made.


"It's them and we know it's them,” Kevin Mandia, boss of security firm FireEye, told the BBC. It is always difficult to attribute cyberattacks because hackers can easily pretend to be somebody else, but Mania said that the evidence very strongly suggests Chinese involvement.

It could be that Mr Xi’s denial is carefully worded because the government doesn’t engage in hacking, but rather the military carries it out, the BBC pointed out.