By Richard Spencer in Beijing
11 Dec 2008
The authorities in Beijing issued a stern denunciation of the meeting
last week, cancelled an EU-China summit and said trade with France might
A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry rejected any suggestion that the
Chinese government might approve of the cyber-attack, reported to have
made the embassy's website inaccessible for several days.
"From the perspective of the Chinese government, China is against the
hacking of the websites of the embassies of other nations," its
spokesman, Liu Jianchao, said.
"We have not seen any questions or concerns raised by France."
Nevertheless, relations between China and France remain at a low.
France has gone into diplomatic overdrive since the meeting to soothe
China's hurt feelings.
Mr Sarkozy called China "one of the greats of the world" on Monday and
stressed he supported "one China".
On Tuesday, his foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, who was appointed in
part due to his work on human rights, weighed in.
"We did not want to cause offence to China, to the Chinese people or to
Chinese leaders," he told a French parliamentary committee.
The cyber-attack is believed to have taken the form of mass attempts to
access the site simultaneously, largely at night, disabling the system.
There are numerous informal hacking groups in China, some of which are
believed to operate for nationalistic purposes, including attempts to
access Pentagon and European defence ministry websites.
Their relationship to the authorities and the People's Liberation Army
is unclear, though any links are hotly denied by the government.
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