NEWS

China Hacked U.S. Darfur Nonprofits, Groups Say

By Joseph Straw

Cyberattacks, apparently originating in China, have hit two U.S. nonprofits that allege Chinese complicity in Sudanese genocide, according to reports.

The Washington, D.C.-based Save Darfur Coalition, which seeks large-scale Western intervention to stem the violence, and is using the upcoming summer Olympic games in Beijing to advance its cause, told the FBI that employees’ e-mail had apparently been accessed by a third party, with the attack originating in China, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Meanwhile New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof writes that similar attacks were reported by the New York City-based Dream for Darfur and by Eric Reeves, a Massachusetts author who runs a content-based Web site to track developments in the region.

The West blames militias supported by the Sudanese government for ongoing violence in Darfur. The AP writes:

Hundreds of thousands have died, and more than 2.5 million have been made homeless by attacks allegedly perpetrated by militias backed and armed by the Sudanese government.

China is Sudan's largest trading partner and absorbs most of its oil exports. Save Darfur has pressed the Chinese to use their economic muscle to force Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to allow the entry of foreign peacekeepers ordered into Darfur by the United Nations.

China’s human rights policies, including the country’s occupation of Tibet and recent unrest and deaths there, threaten to turn the Olympic games into a public relations nightmare for the country, the games, and their corporate sponsors.

Save Darfur is drawing attention to the relationship between China and Sudan, with a demonstration planned for April 9 in San Francisco when the Olympic torch passes through the city en route to Beijing. Anger at China's recent repression in Tibet is thought to be behind an incediary device thrown at the Chinese consulate yesterday morning in San Francisco.

An FBI spokesman confirmed the agency is investigating the alleged hack attacks, which follow a successful attack last June on a computer system within the office of the U.S. secretary of defense.  That attack, which U.S. officials blamed on the Chinese military, shut the system down for a week.

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