Comments on WaPo’s “Five Myths about Chinese Hackers”

An interesting article about Chinese cyber-hacking makes some great points but also point to an American weakness that concerns me.

The following lines, specifically, point to the lack of moral creativity in the thinking of a comfortable elite in a longtime power, namely us:

The Internet, poorly secured and poorly governed, has been a tremendous boon for spying. Every major power has taken advantage of this, but there are unwritten rules that govern espionage, and China’s behavior is out of bounds.

Out of bounds of what? Oh, yes, the rules we wish to enforce, for our own good. I actually have no problem with that, but I think that we would get farther in our thinking/work on such problems if we acknowledged that we are not the bearers of a grand moral standard. In fact, we are protecting ourselves and our interests.

The writer has enough imagination to understand that the world looks different to the Chinese. He writes:  As one Chinese official put it in recent talks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies: “In America, military espionage is heroic and economic espionage is a crime, but in China the line is not so clear.

He may not understand just how different the world looks to the Chinese. Calling their actions ‘out of bounds’ is not likely to impress them. If the purpose is to get the American public agitated, well, then that’s a different matter.

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2 thoughts on “Comments on WaPo’s “Five Myths about Chinese Hackers”

  1. docS says:

    Excellent post- at the risk of falling into a stereotypical “East v. West” perspective, i think the point made here is that Western liberal democracy categories of “domestic v. foreign policy”, “free market v. Government action” and “privacy v. Public” are viewed very differently, or are not even recognized, in China. The differences between chess and go are suggestive of this as well….

    • Thanks. Interesting how the writer seems to ‘get’ that idea in one context (the descriptive) but not to ‘get’ it when he makes normative claims. Not really sure what that part accomplishes other than making him feel good. The Chinese are very aware of this tendency of ours, which is yet another reason to be very self-aware.

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