Foreign media has been all over the recent accusations which suggest a military-led hacking group is located in a Shanghai military compound. But the reports detailing those accusations are being censored by Chinese authorities.
Reuters Part of the building of "Unit 61398," a secretive Chinese military unit, is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai February 19, 2013. The unit is believed to be behind a series of hacking attacks, a U.S. computer security company said, prompting a strong denial by China and accusations that it was in fact the victim of U.S. hacking.
BBC discovered that its broadcasts featuring the military hacking story are being blocked within China. According to the BBC, the “World Service” broadcast is being jammed from within, so viewers outside China can watch the newscast uninterrupted but people in China can not. The BBC released a statement saying “the jamming of shortwave transmissions is being timed to cause maximum disruption to BBC World Service English broadcasts in China.”
Foreign news broadcasts often experience a delay of several seconds, giving Chinese censors the ability to literally black out broadcasts of stories that the government deems inappropriate. According to the Washington Post, BBC journalists were detained by Chinese military officials when attempting to film outside of the Shanghai complex where the suspected hacking group is located. The BBC journalists were eventually released after giving up video footage that they had obtained, most of which was just exterior shots of the building.
According to sources within China, CNN broadcasts covering the hacking story were also blocked within the country. CNN correspondent David McKenzie and a CNN crew also made their way to the Shanghai military building, and were chased down by security officers who happened to be walking by. The video footage of the chase and the accompanying report was also blocked within China. Separate uploads of the video footage on Chinese host websites, like Sina.com, were also taken down.
The Chinese have vehemently denied the allegations that the recent spate of hackings on several private and government entities in the U.S. was the work of government-related entities. The Shanghai-based Unit 61398 has recently been identified in a report by Mandiant, a cyber-security company, as the likely source of the hackings.
China's government keeps a close eye on foreign reporting within China and continues to block news sources, like the New York Times, that have published reports that it does not approve of.
Part of the building of "Unit 61398," a secretive Chinese military unit, is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai February 19, 2013. The unit is believed to be behind a series of hacking attacks, a U.S. computer security company said, prompting a strong denial by China and accusations that it was in fact the victim of U.S. hacking.