Monday, June 27, 2011

"Hostile Foreign Forces" Making Up Stuff About China

Whenever China encounters difficulties or problems, its state-owned media and foreign ministry are often quick to blame "hostile foreign forces" which include foreign (i.e. non-Chinese) media organizations. These accusations are often preposterous, but unfortunately, they are sometimes based in fact.

An article posted today on Business Insider serves as an unfortunate illustration. The article, "These Fake Chinese Microchips Were Made To Disarm U.S. Missiles," by Robert Johnson levels some startling charges:
Last year, the U.S. Navy bought 59,000 microchips for use in everything from missiles to transponders that turned out to be counterfeits from China.

Wired reports the chips weren't only low-quality fakes, they had been made with a "back-door" and could have been remotely shut down at any time.
What??!! This is a major international incident! Why is it not all over the news?

Following the link to the Wired report, we find out why: it simply isn't true.
The chips turned out to be counterfeits from China, but it could have been even worse. Instead of crappy Chinese fakes being put into Navy weapons systems, the chips could have been hacked, able to shut off a missile in the event of war...
...but they weren't, and a further link in the Wired report to a Washington Post story fills us in on the actual facts as reported by an actual journalist (not that all actual journalists are above fabrication).

My point is that we need to be better than this. If a Chinese company somehow conspired to get fake chips with backdoors into US hardware, then, by all means, let's nail them to the wall. But Business Insider's Robert Johnson has either read the Wired article so quickly that he failed to fully understand it, or he has maliciously fabricated a false story -- and neither reflects very well on Business Insider.

And it just adds to the pile of evidence that the "hostile foreign forces" really do exist.

China's corrupt, opaque system will continue to produce enough negative stories on its own. It isn't necessary to make up stuff like this.

EDIT: Note that since I posted the above, Business Insider has since changed its headline slightly, which prompted me to write this subsequent post.


  1. page-views are all that matter. especially to business insider.

  2. They do seem to have grown from nothing very quickly.


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