The Prism whistleblower Edward Snowden emerged from hiding in Hong Kong to tell the South China Morning Post that US spooks were spending a lot of time hacking Chinese businesses.
He said that US National Security Agency's controversial Prism programme extends to people and institutions in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Snowden said that according to unverified documents seen by the Post, the NSA had been hacking computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland since 2009.
None of this material involved Chinese military systems. Instead the US spooks were hacking into the Chinese University and public officials, businesses and students in the city. He also revealed documents that pointed to hacking activity by the NSA against mainland targets.
The NSA has hacked into about 61,000 sites globally, with hundreds of targets in Hong Kong and on the mainland.
Apparently the technique was to hack network backbones, especially huge internet routers. That gave access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one.
Snowden said the papers show the hypocrisy of the US government when it claims that it does not target civilian infrastructure, unlike its adversaries.
Not only does it do that, but it is so afraid of this being known that it is willing to use any means, such as diplomatic intimidation, to prevent this information from becoming public, Snowdon said.