China denies claims of spying on the African Union headquarters

African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

China has denied claims that it spied on the African Union headquarters which it helped build in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa in 2012.

Chinese ambassador to the African Union, Kuang Weilin, described the claims reported by French media Le Monde Afrique as “absurd” and “preposterous”.

He told the media in Addis Ababa that “it is very difficult to understand the claims” and it was entirely untrue, the BBC reports.

“I really question its intention. I think it will undermine and send a very negative message to people. I think it is not good for the image of the newspaper itself. Certainly, it will create problems for China-Africa relations,” he added.

An investigation conducted by French media Le Monde Afrique and published on Saturday revealed that in the past five years, data from the AU servers in Ethiopia were transferred to servers in Shanghai at odd hours.

“In January 2017, the AU’s technical staff discovered that its servers were strangely active with a peak in data transfer between midnight and 2 am when it’s offices were empty. A computer scientist found that there was a massive transfer of internal data of the AU,” the report said.

Every night, the secrets of the institution were stored more than 8,000 km away from Addis Ababa on mysterious servers hosted somewhere in Shanghai, the report added citing unnamed internal sources.

It said the discovery resulted in the change of servers and security experts from Algeria who checked the entire building found microphones installed in desks.

Another anonymous official told the newspaper that the Chinese are not the only ones spying on the AU. The report said documents received in collaboration with The Intercept indicate that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British intelligence agencies (GCHQ) have also spied on the AU building.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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