As high-level talks between China and the US wound up in California on the weekend, US President Barack Obama stressed that, while there was some common ground between the two countries, they were still more defined by their differences.
“On the one hand you have a country that runs 24/7 surveillance of its citizens and ruthlessly pursues anyone who tries to embarrass the government. And then there’s China,” the President said today.
“Let’s face it, they’d struggle to eavesdrop on a gossip session at a hair salon. So I really think these comparisons are silly.
“We’re certainly happy to work with the Chinese to help them become more sophisticated in invading the privacy of their own citizens. But right now we are, quite simply, miles ahead.
Mr Obama said it was another example of American ingenuity. “Americans should be proud to have the best state-controlled surveillance and monitoring system since East Germany in the 60s. In fact, I know they’re proud, because I listen in on all of their conversations”.