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Chinese Intelligence Hacked, Hundreds of 'Illegal' Weather Stations in 20 Provinces Raided

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    Chinese Intelligence Hacked, Hundreds of 'Illegal' Weather Stations in 20 Provinces Raided

    The United States, Britain and Australia, which are members of the AUKUS defense alliance, have revealed indications that hundreds of civilian surveillance cameras spread across their countries are related to intelligence activities carried out by the Chinese government. 

    Despite denials from manufacturers, hundreds if not thousands of Chinese-made surveillance cameras have been replaced, especially those used on government installations and near military zones. However, it was recently revealed that Chinese intelligence had also 'failed.'

    Quoted by, which was reported by CNN (2/11/2023), it was said that the Chinese counterintelligence (espionage) unit had launched a hunt for 'spies' spread across Chinese territory. However, what is meant by 'spy' here is not a field agent, but an 'Illegal' weather station.

    China's government has cracked down on weather stations it says are spying for foreign countries, the latest action in a broad counter-espionage campaign under Xi Jinping's leadership amid rising geopolitical tensions.

    The Ministry of State Security said on Tuesday that it had uncovered hundreds of illegal meteorological stations with foreign links transmitting real-time weather data abroad, which it claimed violated data rules and posed a national security risk.

    The weather station facilities are located in more than 20 provinces, and some of them are "funded directly by foreign governments," the ministry said in a statement on social media.

    The U-2 pilot looks down on the Chinese balloon. The shadow of the plane can be seen on the balloon fabric. Several stations were set up around sensitive locations such as military bases and defense companies to find altitude data and GPS coordinates, China's intelligence agency said. 

    Chinese Intelligence Hacked, Hundreds of 'Illegal' Weather Stations in 20 Provinces Raided

    Other weather stations are placed in major grain growing areas to analyze crop growth and grain yields. It says some devices are small, easy to install and hard to detect, and can automatically collect data and send it over a network in real-time.

    Some stations transmit real-time information to official meteorological agencies abroad with high frequency and at many points for long periods of time. Chinese security officials added that the stations serve “internal security” and meteorological monitoring of foreign countries.

    Although there has been action against illegal weather stations, the Security Ministry did not say which foreign countries were involved.

    Authorities discovered these indications after investigating more than 10 overseas meteorological equipment agents and checking more than 3,000 meteorological stations with foreign ties across the country.

    The Security Ministry said the activities violated China's data security law enacted in 2021 and a separate set of regulations on how foreign organizations can collect, use and share Chinese weather data.

    “Meteorological data… is an integral part of data security and resource security. "This is closely related to military, food and ecological security, climate change and public interests," said the Ministry of State Security.

    The latest crackdown on foreign-linked weather stations comes eight months after the United States shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon that was roaming in United States airspace and hovering over sensitive military sites.

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