BEIJING - Beijing must respond in the face of US espionage charges against six Chinese citizens, Chinese state media said on Thursday, calling Washington paranoid for accusing the group of stealing technology often used in military systems.
The US Justice Department announced the charges on Tuesday, the third time in as many years that US authorities have made accusations of economic espionage conducted on behalf of China, an issue Washington has termed a top national security concern.
China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said it was checking the details of the case and that it was seriously concerned about the charges, a response that appeared to fall short for the Global Times, a nationalist tabloid run by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper.
"The crime of espionage is the charge most abused by America," the Global Times said in an editorial.
"At the same time, we hope the Chinese government and relevant agencies involved with ethnic Chinese spy cases can issue timely and necessary responses," the editorial said.
"These cases show that the US is becoming paranoid about China's rise. However, repeated mistakes along these lines have still not caused American society's introspection, which has gravely compromised the US human rights record," the paper said in a separate English-language editorial.
Hao Zhang, 36, a professor at Tianjin University, was arrested on Saturday in Los Angeles after he arrived on a flight from China. The other five suspects are believed to be in China.
Zhang and two other professors from the school were charged with stealing source code and other proprietary information from chipmakers Avago Technologies Ltd and Skyworks Solutions Inc, where two of them had worked.
The others were associated with a company called ROFS Microsystems established in Tianjin with secrets stolen from the US companies, according to the Justice Department.
The company's website, previously accessible, could not be loaded on Thursday.