BEIJING , May 20 (UPI) -- China summoned U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus Tuesday to voice complaints about cyberespionage charges against a secretive Chinese military unit.
The Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua said assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang called for Baucus' appearance, saying the indictments, and the publicity surrounding them, ignored the strong protests of the Chinese foreign service.
The U.S. Justice Department announced criminal charges Monday against five Chinese military officers stationed in Shanghai, accusing them of hacking into U.S. computers and stealing proprietary secrets from leading U.S. manufacturers of steel, nuclear plants and solar power devices.
It is the first such case involving a foreign government and could be regarded as a precursor for more indictments.
It also shows the United States is serious about cyberspace crimes committed by foreign governments, U.S. officials said after the indictments were announced.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry called the charges "purely fictitious, extremely absurd" Monday and demanded the indictments be withdrawn. It also said it was suspending its involvement in the Sino-U.S. Cyber Working Group, organized to counter differences between the two countries over cyberespionage.
In a statement Tuesday, China noted hypocrisy on the part of the United States, prominently mentioning WikiLeaks reports and Edward Snowden's disclosures of National Security Agency cyberspace activities.