May.20 - China's foreign ministry angrily denies that the Chinese military hacked into American companies after the United States accuses five officers of stealing trade secrets. Sarah Toms reports.
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These five Chinese military officers are accused of hacking into the systems of five American companies and a union and stealing trade secrets.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said it's the first time a grand jury's laid charges against specific foreign officials.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER SAYING:
"This Administration will not tolerate actions by any nation that seeks to illegally sabotage American companies and undermine the integrity of fair competition in the operation of the free market. This case should serve as a wake-up call to the seriousness of the ongoing cyberthreat."
But China has denounced the indictments and says the US is also guilty of spying.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN HONG LEI SAYING:
"The United States deliberately made up facts, using the excuse of so-called stealing of secrets online to indict five Chinese military officials. This has seriously violated the basic principles of international relations, and damaged Chinese-U.S. cooperation and mutual trust."
Beijing has summoned the US ambassador over the incident.
The officers, who're accused of cyber espionage in nuclear, metal and solar energy sectors, reportedly worked here in Unit 61398.
This shadowy building in Shanghai belongs to the People's Liberation Army. It was identified in a report last year by a cybersecurity firm as the source of a large number of espionage operations.
But skeptics say the U.S. will never be able to arrest the men because Beijing will not hand them over.