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IDG News Service - The U.S. State Department questioned the Chinese government about a cyberattack that had temporarily shut down the website Change.org after the site hosted a petition urging Chinese authorities to release artist Ai Weiwei from custody.
U.S. deputy assistant secretary Daniel Baer raised concerns about the attack in April with China's foreign ministry, according to an official letter sent from the State Department to U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). Change.org obtained a copy
...an apparent cyber attack on the U.S. website Change.org shortly after the site carried a petition to the PRC Ministry of Culture seeking the release of Ai Weiwei. Secretary Clinton has been a leading voice for Internet freedom around the world, and has elevated the issue to the top tier ofAmerican foreign poiicy. WOe condemn all cyber attacks that aim to stifle protected speech on the Internet, including via "distributed denial of service," or DDOS.
The United States continues to be deeply concerned by the trend of forced
disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and convictions of public interest
lawyers, writers, artists, intellectuals, religious leaders, and activists in China for
exercising their internationally recognized human rights. Assistant Secretary for
Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner raised these concerns and
pressed for the release of Ai Weiwei during the U.S-China Human Rights Dialogue
held in Beijing on April 27-28. Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Baer raised the
case ofChange.org directly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while in Beijing...
Change.org said the DDoS attacks from China continue to bring down the site intermittently. The FBI is investigating the case, said Benjamin Joffe-Walt, an editor with Change.org.
China has been named the country of origin for several other cyber attacks. This month, Google said it had disrupted a targeted phishing campaign meant to break into the Gmail accounts of government officials, political activists and military personnel. Google said the cybercampaign had originated from Jinan, China.
Previously, the search giant was the victim of another attack coming out of China back in 2009 that was aimed at accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.
China, however, has denied it sponsors any cyber attacking, and claims that the country is also a victim of hacking attempts.