China snooping on millions around world: Zhenhua Data leak

DHARAMSALA, 14 Sept: A trove of leaked data has exposed that China has been snooping on millions of people across the world by amassing their detailed personal information.

Shenzhen-based Zhenhua Data Information Technology, a Chinese company with links to Beijing has compiled a global database of nearly 2.4 million people who are being actively monitored under a surveillance programme, media reports said.

The revelation came after the database was leaked to Professor Chris Balding, a US academic based in Vietnam, who until 2018 had worked at the elite Peking University before leaving China citing fears for his physical safety.

The professor, media reports said shared the data with Internet 2.0 for recovery and analysis following which it was shared with media outlets across the world.

Balding believes that compiling “information on everyone from key public individuals to low-level individuals in an institution could be used to better monitor and understand how to exert influence,” the Guardian reported.

Of the 250,000 records recovered, there are 52,000 Americans, 35,000 Australians, 10,000 Indian, 9,700 British, 5,000 Canadians, 2,100 Indonesians, 1,400 Malaysia, 793 New Zealanders and 138 from Papua New Guinea, the report added.

Those targeted include many important individuals and organisations from India, Australia, Britain, the US, Japan, Canada, Germany and UAE.

According to the India Express, India’s President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, chief of defence staff Bipin Rawat, and at least 60 senior serving and retired officers of the military were among those targeted in the operation.

The development came amidst simmering border standoff between India and China.

For decades China is known to have carried its operations across the world to extend its global subversion and influence the politics of other nations by censoring critical discussion of its history and human rights record and to intimidate critics of its repressive policies.

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