China reacts to U.S. accusations of cyber spying

President Barack Obama speaks May 29, 2009 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.

This is the first time the Obama administration has directly accused China’s military of cyber spying on U.S. government computer systems. And according to Bo Zhiyue at the East Asian Instiute of the National Univesrity of Singapore, it shows president Obama is changing his tune on China.

“In the first term, he was trying to work more closely with the Chinese authorities," says Bo.  "Apparently, that approach didn’t go anywhere. So this time around, he wants to try a harder approach.”

So how will this new tough-guy approach go over among the Chinese?

On the street in Shanghai, a man who only gave his surname, Yang, has his own take of the accusations and counter-accusations between the U.S. and China.

"I think it’s perfectly normal that both the U.S. and China spy on each other like this," says Yang. "It’s in the national interest of both countries."

Like many Chinese, Yang says he’s not worried this will hurt his country’s relationship -- or business --  with the U.S.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

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