Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei looks at the papers before he speaks during a daily briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing, China Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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Chinese state media labelled the United States a "mincing rascal" and "high-level hooligan" on Wednesday in response to Washington charging five Chinese military officers with hacking U.S. companies to steal trade secrets.The indictment on Monday was the first criminal hacking charge the U.S. has filed against specific foreign officials, and follows a rise in public criticism and private confrontation between the world's two biggest economies over cyber espionage.The cyber spying charges are likely to further sour ties between China and the United States, already under strain from a range of issues, including human rights, trade disputes and China's growing military assertiveness in contested seas.While China is unlikely to hand over the five officers charged, the indictment would prevent them from travelling to the U.S. or any country with an extradition agreement with the United States.
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