Can’t blame all Chinese cyberattacks on the government – Asia Times

Can't blame all Chinese cyberattacks on the government - Asia Times

American universities participating in military studies are targets of cyberattacks by foreign countries, according to the national security agency MI5 in April.

More recently, news broke of a attack against the UK’s Ministry of Defense, which exposed the personal information of 270, 000 military forces staff. China is the primary believe in these problems.

China is frequently depicted as a monolithic object completely dependent on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Yet, the reality is more difficult. Foreign patriotic organizations carry out numerous attacks and other forms of digital intervention in China.

Some of these organizations receive funding from the CCP and operate under its course. The 50 Cent Army ( 五毛党 ), for example, is a group that posts pro- CCP messages on social media. Its name is derived from reports that the CCP pays recruits 0.5 % ( US$ 69 ) per post.

But many of these organizations operate freely. Yet Chinese nationalist organizations have engaged in online combat against the CCP’s wants.

The fact that attacks are being launched against the CCP’s orders suggests that China’s patriotic movement is escaping political restraints. This may be a pain for China’s leader, Xi Jinping, as the number of attacks grows.

The nationalist movements in China is very vulnerable to accusations to the country. This is attributable to the careful use of stories about the “century of humiliation,” a time when Chinese nationalism was abused and abused by foreign imperialist powers between around 1839 and 1949.

Chinese nationalists are now protesting what they believe are renewed efforts by international powers to denigrate China. They take action through “online war” against those who they believe pose a danger to China’s objectives.

In 2016, Taiwan elected Tsai Ing- wen, an pro- Beijing prospect, as leader. During and after the election, a group of predominately young, female cyber- nationalists known as the Little Pinks ( 小粉紅 ) waged a “meme war” against Taiwan.

This included thousands of Little Pinks posting pro-Beijing memes to President Tsai’s social media accounts and many Japanese news outlets. The cartoons focused on Taiwan, which China claims is a province of China and not an autonomous nation-state.

Some cyber-nationalist organizations have gone one step farther by engaging in cybercrime. This involves using attacks to target institutions and organizations in order to advance the republican agenda.

An unofficial group of hacktivists, known as the Red Hacker Alliance ( ), launched a denial-of-service attack on CNN, a US media company in 2008. The strike came in response to CNN’s coverage of anti-Beijing demonstrations in Tibet, which China has occupied since 1950. The bank’s site was temporarily absent in some parts of Asia as a result of this.

In another instance, a group known as the Honker Union ( ) launched cyber-attacks against the Philippines in 2014. The Honker Union hacked into the University of the Philippines ‘ site after being threatened with arrest by Chinese fishing in a disputed region of the South China Sea. Hackers posted pro- Taiwanese slogans and a chart showing China’s geographical claims on the school’s blog.

CCP’s political handle

The CCP uses its position as the frontrunner of the Chinese state to justify its regime. However, this emphasis on patriotism has had a significant impact on China’s patriotic movement. By limiting republican activity very much, the CCP is viewed as contradicting its patriotic credentials.

As a result, cyber-nationalists have escaped the CCP’s political handles, such as its ability to direct China’s nationalist movement through propaganda. In doing so, cyber-nationalists undermine the CCP’s authority and occasionally contradict its foreign policy.

Following international condemnation of China’s assault on Hong Kong, the CCP demanded caution from nationalist groups in 2020. Cyber-nationalists, however, continue to conduct an online anti-EU slander campaign. Yet the Communist Youth League, a nationalist firm with proper links to the CCP, took piece against the CCP’s training.

Hacktivists also launched attacks as part of this campaign, including hacking the Chinese embassy in Paris ‘ Twitter bill. The hacktivists posted a photo of the US as Hong Kong’s embodiment of dying.

The US and France both expressed their regrets after the ambassador removed the photo. However, the affair speaks to a CCP that is struggling to control cyber-nationalists who are willing to sabotage the state propaganda equipment in order to do their objectives.

Additionally, there have been hacktivist cyber-attacks against the Chinese government, which typically occur during times of anger with the CCP. One party spread nationalist and anti-CCP messages while recently assuming control of a television system in the southeast area of Wenzhou in 2014. This attack was carried out in protest of Wang Bingzhang‘s arrest as a patriotic activist and democratic dissident.

In 2022, another party hacked into a Shanghai authorities database and leaked 23 terabytes of personal data that the government had gathered as part of its campaign of widespread home surveillance. Eventually, a secret attacker dubbed” ChinaDan” made the information available for sale online.

We assume that Chinese attacks reflect a malignant Chinese state in the West. The reality is more complicated. Growing numbers of cyberattacks reflect a significant regional issue for the CCP, one that highlights the limitations of its political controls, as cyber-nationalists continue to take things into their own hands.

Lewis Eves is Teaching Associate in Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield

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