China's People's Daily launched into a bitter attack on US tech firms this morning, highlighting tensions raised by NSA surveillance. On its microblogging platform, the state-run media outlet blasted Google, Apple, Microsoft and others for their cooperation with US government surveillance. After naming the companies, the paper promised new regulations and punishments, as translated by Reuters: "To resist the naked Internet hegemony, we will draw up international regulations, and strengthen technology safeguards, but we will also severely punish the pawns of the villain. The priority is strengthening penalties and punishments, and for anyone who steals our information, even though they are far away, we shall punish them!"
The English-language China Daily offered a more restrained take in print, saying simply that "online services have become a major way for the US to steal information globally." The companies involved have uniformly denied cooperating with the NSA, except where legally compelled to do so. Still, after the leaked PRISM documents indicated high levels of NSA access to company networks, the taint of government surveillance has proven difficult to shake. The statements also fit into a broader Chinese shift to locally based services like Sina Weibo and TOM Skype.