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China rejects Microsoft claim of attempted meddling in US election

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian

China has rejected an allegation by US technology company Microsoft that Beijing is seeking to meddle in the United States’ 2020 presidential election, accusing the American tech giant of “fabrication” and “creating trouble.”

“The US presidential election is the US’s internal affair,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Friday. “We have no interest to interfere in it, and we never interfered in it.”

The remarks came after Microsoft claimed that it had detected Chinese, Russian, and Iranian efforts to target “people and organizations involved in the upcoming presidential election.” Microsoft claimed that the attempts had been launched against campaigns associated with both US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

It claimed that most of the attacks had been “detected and stopped by security tools built into our products.”

Separately on Friday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also rejected the allegation by Microsoft. Khatibzadeh said Tehran had no interest in the outcome of the US election.

Russia did not immediately comment on the US firm’s allegation.

Relations between the United States and China have hit the lowest level in decades. The two are at loggerheads over a range of issues, including trade, human rights, the South China Sea, Taiwan, and the coronavirus pandemic.

The US has also been using national security pretexts as an excuse to impose restrictions on Chinese communication apps and technologies. It has already targeted Chinese tech giant Huawei over allegations of security threats. Washington has also banned China’s popular video-sharing service TikTok as well as WeChat from operating in the US.

Zhao warned in his Friday remarks that the world had to be on “high alert” instead for American tech corporations “installing back doorways” and harvesting private information for safety 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.

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