China's Xinhua News Agency Blames OPM Hack on Criminal Gang
Updated Dec 3, 2015 10:47 a.m. HKT
Article by Damian Paletta, with contributions from Josh Chin
Analysis by Stephanie Stelter
The hack of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, resulting in the theft of the personal information of more than 21 million people, sounds like an episode of a primetime television political drama. However, in this case, the international politics and drama are real.
The latest plot twist occurred when Xinhua, a Chinese state-run news agency, published an article asserting that, as part of a meeting between U.S. and Chinese officials, an investigation had proven that the U.S. assumption of a Chinese state-sponsored cyber attack to be false. There are several possible driving forces behind including this detail in the article and even more interpretations of the precise meaning of the wording. The Wall Street Journal article only speculates on the possibilities, since U.S. officials were not available for comment.
My interest in the story grew as I considered the possible forces behind the publishing of the Xinhua article and the tumultuous history of U.S. and Chinese interactions. I can not help but consider whether it is possible that so many of these tense exchanges and political games stem almost exclusively from the distinct cultures of the two countries. Chinese culture places a high emphasis on the building of relationships and many ceremonial and traditional practices surrounding the establishment and maintenance of those relationships. U.S. culture is generally more task-oriented, seeking to accomplish a goal. In business and in politics, both cultures have developed more awareness of the tendencies of the other throughout time. However, that awareness developed only after the initial foundation of the relationship had been established. It seems that interactions between the countries have improved, and yet there are still circumstances of finger pointing and blame, like this one. My question, which will remain unanswered because there is no way to know: Would U.S. and Chinese relations be vastly different today if either side had been more culturally aware at the start of that international relationship?