What happened: China has dismissed suggestions that Beijing was involved in a cyberattack on Australia’s political parties. In a press briefing on Monday in Beijing, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said China firmly opposed the reports, saying that they made “unwarranted charges against China and mar China’s image to serve their ulterior motives.” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday blamed a “sophisticated state actor” for a recent hack on the country’s parliament and some of its prominent political parties, but didn’t say which country.
Why it’s important: China has been the target of espionage accusations by Western communities following the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada in December. China issued a statement on Sunday dismissing claims made by the European Union that it has hundreds of spies working in Brussels. Prior to this, CNN cited US intelligence officials as saying China is using expatriate students to steal secrets and spy on other Chinese people in the US. Australia is also one of the countries that has blocked Huawei 5G equipment from being used on national mobile networks.