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China denies cyberattacks on US election campaigns

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Beijing on Friday denied trying to meddle in US presidential election after American tech giant Microsoft said it had parried cyberattacks from overseas groups – including from China – against both the Republican and Democratic campaigns.

Microsoft warned it had detected attempts at election interference from overseas, including Russia, Iran and the China-based “Zirconium”, which targeted people linked to Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s campaign.

But China batted away the allegation, accusing Microsoft of “fabrication” and “creating trouble”.

“The US presidential election is the US’ internal affair,” said Zhao Lijian, spokesman of the Chinese foreign ministry.

“We have no interest to interfere in it, and we never interfered in it.”

China and the United States are trapped in a sprawling power struggle reaching into trade, the origins of the coronavirus, defence ambitions and tech security.

Washington has called out Chinese tech firms – from Huawei to Tik Tok – as state actors working for the Communist Party of China, claims Beijing and the companies vehemently deny.

Zhao returned fire on Friday, warning that the world should instead be on “high alert” for American tech companies “installing back doors” and harvesting personal data for security services.

With the US presidential election two months away, Twitter, Google and Facebook have all said they are reinforcing protections to curb the spread of misinformation.

APF

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