China says suffers "massive" Internet spy damage

BEIJING, Sept 12 (Reuters) - China has suffered “massive” and “shocking” losses of state and military secrets through the Internet, a senior government official said, urging a sweeping crackdown on computer threats and uncensored news.

Vice Minister of Information Industry Lou Qinjian said the country’s Internet was riddled with security holes that had made a mockery of the ruling Communist Party’s censorship and exposed many secrets to spies.

“The Internet has become the main technological channel for external espionage activities against our core, vital departments,” he wrote in a magazine, Chinese Cadres Tribune.

“In recent years Party, government and military organs and national defence scientific research units have had many major cases of loss, theft and leakage of secrets, and the damage to national interests has been massive and shocking.”

Lou’s paper in the September issue of the magazine appeared at a time when foreign officials have alleged that China has been mounting its own Internet raids on government computer networks in the United States, Germany, Britain and other countries -- allegations China has denied.

Lou did not mention those allegations.

He said China needed to establish a new bureaucracy to enforce security controls on the Internet and also wrest control over key technology from foreign companies and governments.