China denies claim of hacking African Union HQ

ADDIS ABABA (Ethiopia) • China and the African Union (AU) have dismissed a report in French newspaper Le Monde that Beijing bugged the regional bloc’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

An article published last Friday in the paper, quoting anonymous AU sources, said data from computers in the Chinese-built building had been transferred nightly to Chinese servers for five years.

After the massive hack was discovered a year ago, the building’s information technology system, including servers, was changed, according to Le Monde.

During a sweep for bugs after the discovery, microphones hidden in desks and the walls were also detected and removed, the newspaper said.

The US$200 million (S$262 million) headquarters was fully funded and built by China in 2012. It was seen as a symbol of Beijing’s thrust for influence in Africa and access to the continent’s natural resources.

As in the Ethiopian capital, China’s investments in road and rail infrastructure are highly visible across the continent.

Chinese Ambassador to the AU Kuang Weilin called the article “ridiculous and preposterous” and said its publication was intended to put pressure on relations between Beijing and the continent.

He said: “China-Africa relations have brought about benefits and a lot of opportunities. Africans are happy with this. Others are not.”

By Africafrique and agencies

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