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China Reform Monitor - No. 955
U.S. report warns of China's ability for "catastrophic" cyberattacks;
Chinese companies pull out of Libya
Edited by Joshua Eisenman
March 22, 2012
Biographical information about Zhao Ziyang, the former Premier and Communist Party Chairman purged after the June 4 Tiananmen crackdown 22 years ago, continues to be blocked by Chinese censors. After just two days Zhou’s profile disappeared from Baidu Baike, a web-based encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia. It first appeared on February 20, attracted about 2.16 million hits by the next evening, and was blocked the following morning. The entry quoted a government verdict after the Tiananmen protest saying Zhao was “supporting turmoil and splitting the party.” But it also acknowledged Zhao’s “contributions to the party and to the people,” and described Zhao as a “proletarian revolutionary.” When questioned by the South China Morning Post about the reasons behind the profile’s appearance and disappearance Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo replied: “It’s not convenient to talk about it.”
The story of Lei Feng, the People’s Liberation Army soldier and posthumous proletarian Chinese hero, is being revived in an effort to fill a moral vacuum in Chinese society. The Communist Party’s Publicity Department has kicked off a high-profile “Practice Lei Feng Spirit” campaign to mark the 50th anniversary of his death, the South China Morning Post reports. Lei Feng, became a symbol of selflessness and devotion to the party after his accidental death in 1962 and gained nationwide fame after Mao Zedong coined the phrase “Learn from Lei Feng.” In his diaries, studied by generations of mainlanders, Lei wrote that he wanted to be “a revolutionary screw that never rusts.” A Publicity Department representative said: “By learning from Lei Feng we can set new moral standard and fix the distrust and other moral issues in today’s society.”
The death toll from a series of explosions in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo has topped 200 including at least 6 Chinese, the official China Daily reports. Several powerful blasts rocked the city on March 4 at 8am local time, destroying an arms and munitions depot and leveling neighboring buildings and destroying vehicles near the scene. The blasts shattered the window panels of Xinhua’s local bureau and were heard across the Congo River in Kinshasa. At a nearby construction site dozens of the 140 Beijing Construction Engineering Group’s Chinese workers were injured, some seriously. Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso visited them and promised to strengthen the protection of Chinese personnel in the country.
Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said that due to a lack of security Chinese companies will not return to Libya and demanded the Libyan authorities compensate them for losses suffered during last year’s civil war. China’s construction projects were under artillery attack and suffered heavy financial losses during the war, including housing projects worth more than $10 billion, the semi-official Global Timesreports. Meanwhile, at a UN Security Council meeting on Libya, Wang Min, deputy permanent representative of China to the UN, called for further investigation into NATO’s airstrikes against the Gadhafi regime. Wang said the massive migration and proliferation of weapons caused by the Libyan conflict continues to affect the economic and social development of Libya’s neighboring countries, the official People’s Daily reports.
Cyber attacks against foreign computer networks are fundamental to China’s military strategies with the potential to cause a “catastrophic failure of systems and networks supporting critical infrastructure for [U.S.] national security or public safety,” according to a report by Northrop Grumman Corp sponsored by the Congressionally-mandated U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. “Chinese capabilities in computer network operations have advanced sufficiently to pose genuine risk to U.S. military operations in the event of a conflict,” the report said. China is “leveraging all available resources to create a diverse, technically advanced ability to operate in cyberspace.” In a crisis over Taiwan or in the South China Sea Chinese cyber attacks could delay or degrade a U.S. military response, the report said according to Reuters.