Following aÂ reportÂ (registration required) that a new hacker unit in Shanghai with ties to Chinaâ€™s Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army has been targeting American, European, and Japanese networks, Chinaâ€™s foreign ministry hit back with a pop culture reference meantÂ to highlight Americaâ€™s hypocrisy.
When asked about Chinaâ€™s response to the report from Crowdstrike, an American security firm, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chun Ying said yesterday,Â â€œThe US shouldnâ€™t try to dress up asÂ the victim. America itself is The Matrix. This is a fact the whole world knows.â€Â Hua went on to cast doubt on parts of the report, namely the part that names a Chinese hackerÂ who claimed on his blog that he works for the Chinese military. (â€œHave you ever seen a thief on the street who has a name tag pinned on his chest saying that he is a thief?â€ she asked.)
Whether Hua intended to compare the US to a futuristic computer system that subdues mankind in order to use their energy is unclear. More likely, Hua wanted to underline the fact that the US is no stranger to cyber sleuthingâ€”the Chinese translation for The MatrixÂ translates to â€œhackerâ€™s empire.â€ (The phrase can also be taken literally, but given the popularity of the movie and its sequels in China, manyÂ people are likely to think of the film.)
Still, these arenâ€™t the worst comments coming fromÂ China in response to spying allegationsâ€”in May,Â Chinese state media called the US a â€œmincing rascalâ€ after US authorities charged five Chinese military officers with cyber espionage.