Chinese hackers have reportedly conducted attacks on governmental servers in Uzbekistan and against individual users in South Korea. The Hacker News reported in early December that the Uzbek Foreign Ministry’s servers came under an attack utilizing a “remote access Trojan” program called “SugarGh0st RAT,” which reportedly enables hackers to transfer data, initiate commands remotely and other malicious activities. The Hacker News report goes on to claim that the program originated in China, adding that the hackers appeared to be native Chinese speakers. The report does not provide any proof of Chinese government involvement, but doesn’t rule it out, given that China has a record of carrying out such intelligence-gathering activity. For example, earlier this autumn, Chinese state-connected hackers broke into US State Department servers, gaining access to over 60,000 emails. "The Gh0st RAT malware is a mainstay in the Chinese threat actors' arsenal and has been active since at least 2008. … The targeting of the Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs also aligns with the scope of Chinese intelligence activity abroad," Hacker News quotes researchers as saying. The details contained in the Hacker News report about the Uzbek incident could not be independently verified by Eurasianet.
Health Ministry officials in Kazakhstan are taking action to contain rumors circulating concerning a spike in respiratory illness among children in China. Kazakhstan’s deputy chair of the Committee for Sanitary and Epidemiological Control, Zaure Akhmetova, stated that the available data indicated that the virus suspected of causing the uptick in illness in China contains “neither new nor unknown pathogens.” Akhmetova, however, appealed to parents in Kazakhstan to ensure their young children receive “timely vaccinations,” Zakon.kz reported.
Law enforcement personnel in Almaty prevented a small protest outside the Chinese consulate concerning the Chinese government’s crackdown on Muslim minority groups in western Xinjiang Province. A few Kazakh relatives of those held in reeducation camps in Xinjiang intended to gather on December 4 outside the Chinese consulate to call attention to China’s repressive measures. Such small actions have occurred for over three years, but on December 4, police interrupted the protest before it could begin, according to a report circulated Radio Azattyk. Chinese authorities claim that camps for Muslim minorities are “vocational schools.” But watchdog groups have documented that conditions at such facilities are akin to maximum security prisons.
The recent high-profile visit to Kazakhstan by China’s deputy premier, Ding Xuexiang, produced lots of hopeful rhetoric but did not yield any new economic agreements. During a meeting with Ding, Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov touted the growth of bilateral trade, saying trade turnover last year amounted to $24.2 billion, an increase of 35 percent over the previous year’s totals. Trade data reported by Kazakhstan often differs with the numbers reported by Beijing.
China’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Du Dewen, presided over a ceremony marking the donation by China of equipment for 10 Kyrgyz pre-schools, the embassy’s press service reported. Kyrgyz Education Minister Dogdurkul Kendirbaeva also attended the ceremony, thanking China for its “long-term support and assistance in the development of the educational industry of Kyrgyzstan.”