China's building projects in Africa are a spymaster's dream, says report

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Washington DC [USA], May 22 (ANI): A new report shows how Beijing is using infrastructure to expand its surveillance network on the continent, making U.S. officials vulnerable. According to Foreign Policy (FP), a U.S. based magazine, "In 2018, the African Union accused China of infiltrating the computer network in its glitzy new headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to steal sensitive data--a task made easier by the fact that China itself built the headquarters. But, it likely didn't stop there". It added, "In recent years, China has quietly embarked on government building projects across Africa that adds up to a counterintelligence nightmare for the United States and its partners on the continent, according to new research from the Heritage Foundation". China has constructed or renovated nearly 200 government buildings, gifted batches of computers to African governments, and built "secure" telecommunications networks that give Beijing the opportunity for unprecedented surveillance on the continent. The report analyzes how China's construction projects are a Trojan horse for spying on African governments, based on China's long-standing pattern of using its foreign infrastructure projects for political advantage and industrial espionage. FP said, "The report offers stark assessments on the vulnerabilities that U.S. officials in Africa face amid growing concern in Washington over China's clout on the continent". "Beijing likely uses surveillance to, among other things, advantage its companies competing for contracts, spy on U.S. officials, and influence African officials," the report says. It concludes that all American officials should operate with the "baseline assumption" that all their communications with African governments are monitored by the Chinese. Among the report, Chinese companies have constructed or renovated-- 24 buildings for Presidents or Prime Ministers, 26 parliamentary buildings, 19 ministry of foreign affairs buildings, and 32 military or police buildings in the African continent. (ANI)