Chinese authorities have denied allegations made in a US report saying that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been conducting cyber espionage against Western countries for years, calling the claims groundless.
The report does not reflect the facts and is not professional, and the PLA has never supported any cyber espionage activities, China's defense ministry said on its official website in response to the accusation.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the same remark Tuesday at a regular press briefing when asked to comment on the report released by the US security company Mandiant, saying cyber crimes should be solved through international cooperation on the basis of mutual trust and respect.
"Groundless criticism is irresponsible and unprofessional, and it will not help to solve the problem," he said.
"The US media has been sensationalizing the so-called Chinese cyber attack to increase the world's unnecessary wariness against China and it would also give its military forces excuses to invest more in its own cyber espionage technology," He Hui, vice director of the Public Relations and Public Opinion Institute of the Communication University of China, told the Global Times.
"Also, the false allegation about the China cyber threat will discredit Chinese cyber technology companies. By slandering their Chinese competitors, US cyber technology firms will gain the upper hand in the global market," he added.
Mandiant's report, APT1 Exposing One of China's Espionage Units, described the term APT1 (Advanced Persistent Threat 1) as "a single organization of operators that has conducted a cyber espionage campaign against a broad range of victims since at least 2006."
"APT1 is believed to be the 2nd Bureau of the PLA General Staff Department's 3rd Department, which is most commonly known as unit 61398," the report wrote.
"It is one of the most prolific cyber espionage groups in terms of the sheer quantity of information stolen," the report claimed.
The report said a 12-story building off Datong Road, Pudong New Area in Shanghai was the headquarters of the 61398 Unit.
The Global Times reporter found no signs around the compound indicating the building's exact function except a board in Chinese, English and Japanese saying it was a military zone and taking photos was forbidden in the area.
There was not much traffic outside the compound as of Tuesday evening.
Hong also said that China has been a major victim of cyber attacks, listing surveys as evidence and that it opposes all forms of such activity.