China-linked hackers penetrated Vatican computer network, right before diplomatic negotiations with Beijing

“In one attack, the hackers weaponized an electronic file with a letter that had a note of condolence from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state.”

US accuses Chinese hackers of targeting COVID-19 research

Hackers working for China's government targeted firms working on coronavirus vaccines, and stole hundreds of millions of dollars worth of intellectual property and trade secrets, claims the Justice Department in a statement Tuesday announcing criminal charges. Read the rest

U.S. is investigating claims that TikTok violated children's privacy

The FTC and the Justice Department are investigating claims that TikTok, the popular social media app with close ties to China, violated a 2019 agreement to protect children's privacy. Read the rest

Bowing to China, Zoom deactivated accounts of US-based activists

Zoom performs work of China internet censors -- against users in the U.S.

China censors Weibo for 'interfering with online communication orders, disseminating illegal information'

Starting on Wednesday afternoon, the trending list on the popular Chinese social media app Weibo will be banned for one week, the Cyberspace Administration of Beijing said, for “interfering with online communication orders, disseminating illegal information, and other problems” Read the rest

Google says China- and Iran-backed hackers hit Biden and Trump campaigns

Google official says “no sign of compromise” of either campaign

Investigation into TikTok as risk to U.S. children's privacy urged by 4 U.S. senators

The letter from 4 senators was addressed to Zhang Yiming, founder and CEO of TikTok owner ByteDance.

Beijing to base China security agencies in Hong Kong

Pro-democracy lawmakers denounced the plans as “the end of Hong Kong”.

What it's like to buy a $900 electric car from Alibaba

On Jalopnik my friend Jason Torchinsky is writing about his experience ordering a $900 electric car from China using Alibaba. It has been an incredibly long and complicated process, involving lots of red tape. Including extra charges and document filing fees the price of the car is now close to $3500. Nevertheless, it's a really cool looking a little electric car. Read the rest

Tickets for Shanghai Disneyland re-opening sold out in 3 minutes

People in China can't wait to enter the Magic Kingdom now that coronavirus deaths in that country have declined. Read the rest

Amazon used a China firm on U.S. blacklist for thermal cameras to monitor workers for COVID-19 fever

Amazon's new Chinese thermal spycam vendor was blacklisted by U.S. over allegations it helped China detain and monitor Uighurs and other Muslim minorities Read the rest

Trump owes 10s of millions to Bank of China, reports Politico

“The president's financial dealings with the state-owned bank complicate his attacks on Biden.”

Maybe the coronavirus emanated from a China research lab after all, say US and UK intelligence

“[U.S.] officials are seriously pursuing the possibility that a natural sample of the virus escaped a laboratory.”

The question was dismissed as a conspiracy theory in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak.

But now, some intelligence experts admit they are seriously looking into the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic might have been touched off by an accident at a research facility in China, various news outlets report. Read the rest

Kevin Kelly on the future of the Internet in China

My friend and Cool Tools partner, Kevin Kelly created a 36-part lecture series about the future for China Mobile. He's running them on his YouTube channel. The first one is about the future of the Internet in China.

There are three big challenges in the Internet space that all countries must face in the near future. China's approach to the challenges will impact not only Chinese Internet users, but potentially all Internet users. What interface follows the smart hone, whether it be AR-enabled glasses, foldable screens, or wearable projectors, will not only be influenced by China's substantial Internet-using population, but also by their manufacturing. Privacy, as it relates to online information collecting and sale, has consequences for broader community standards, and there is no one-size fits all approach to this issue. China must engage their own ethicists, community, government and technologists to develop a solution that works for China. Finally, globalization. Most of China's internet success has been within China, but as China begins to consider how it might attract users from outside its borders, it will need to consider dialing back the protections that have held foreign Internet companies at bay.

Read the rest

An American artist illustrates a webcomic love letter to her hometown of Wuhan

Laura Gao was born in Wuhan before moving to the US at the age of 3. An experienced graphic designer who now works for Twitter, Gao has been — understandably — frustrated with the virulant racism that's accompanied the worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and Trump's continued insistence on blaming China for the virus.

But Wuhan isn't as well-known as other cities in China, even though it has a larger population than London or New York. So instead of letting her hometown continue to be associated with a pandemic, Gao wrote and illustrated a new webcomic to help people get to know the city where she was born, beyond those gross racist implications.

It's a short read, but it will remind you that Wuhan is indeed a place of humans, culture, and history, all of which deserve appreciation and respect.

The Wuhan I Know [Laura Gao]

Image: Creativity City in Wuhan by Majorantarktis / Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0) Read the rest

Mass graves are being dug for Iranian coronavirus victims

It's been suggested by experts for some time now that the COVID-19 situation is far more dire in Iran than the nation's government has been willing to admit. According to Iran, 10,000 of its citizens have been infected with the novel coronavirus, of which 429 have died. However, satellite images that appear to show mass graves being dug outside of the city of Qom are a bad sign that the number of dead may be far higher.

From The Guardian:

The pictures, first published by the New York Times, show the excavation of a new section in a cemetery on the northern fringe of Iran’s holy city in late February, and two long trenches dug, of a total length of 100 yards, by the end of the month.

They confirm the worst fears about the extent of the epidemic and the government’s subsequent cover-up. On 24 February, at the time the trenches were being dug, a legislator from Qom, 75 miles (120 km) south of Tehran, accused the health ministry of lying about the scale of the outbreak, saying there had already been 50 deaths in the city, at a time when the ministry was claiming only 12 people had died from the virus nationwide.

According to The Guardian, it's believed that, as China is Iran's primary trade partner, the Iranian government wasn't thrilled with the idea of halting travel to one of the few big international players who will still do business with them. This, combined with the Iranian government's reluctance to order social distancing or quarantine measures for its nation's citizens allowed the virus to spread faster than shit through a goose. Read the rest

Footage of empty Beijing mall

A man in Beijing, where everyone is told to stay home due to the coronavirus, visited a mall and took a video camera. It's all but deserted: you can get served, but you're not allowed to hang around. Jump a third of the way in for the "action".

P.S. This is basically every mall in Pittsburgh on a weekday except the one nice one with the Nordstroms. Read the rest

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