China will beef up its security following a report that the massive US National Security Agency surveillance of world leaders and civilians has spread into major Chinese cities, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
According to German magazine Der Spiegel, China has become another victimized country of Washington's monitoring sweep.
US intelligence has been operating a global network of 80 special collection services, including "listening posts" in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Taipei, Der Spiegel said.
Calling cybersecurity "a matter of sovereignty", spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing will take the necessary measures to safeguard its information security.
"We have been concerned about the continuing exposure of the US surveillance activities and will keep a close watch on further developments," Hua said.
Li Haidong, a researcher of American studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said the listening posts in major Chinese cities infringe on citizens' privacy as well as political and economic security.
"Instead of seeking communication and cooperation on cybersecurity, the US further fuels suspicion and distrust between the two countries through these eavesdropping activities," Li said.
Days earlier, Japanese media revealed that the NSA approached the Japanese government in 2011 seeking permission to tap the international fiber-optic cables that traverse the country and carry much of the traffic across East Asia in an attempt to gather more information on China.
Shi Yinhong, a senior expert on US studies at Renmin University of China, said it is not news that the US flaunts itself as a "defender of the law" and constantly points fingers at other countries, including China.
"Yet, the exposed phone tapping violated its domestic and international laws, stained its moral image and invited resentment from its traditional allies," Shi said.