As US firms allege they are increasingly targeted by Beijing-based hackers, Li counters China itself has been hacked

Newly installed Chinese premier Li Keqiang has called on both Washington and Beijing to put an end to "groundless accusations" regarding the hacking of each others' computer systems.

Speaking at the close of China's annual meeting of parliament, Li said that cyberattacks were a global problem, and that his country had been the victim of hackers on numerous occasions.

The comments come after a series of claims by US newspapers, along with internet giants including Twitter and Google, that they have had been hit by security breaches, seemingly conducted out of Beijing.

Last month the Washington Post added its name to a list of newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in acknowledging that it had been targeted.

The claim is that hackers, with the backing of Chinese military authorities, breached computers at the newspapers to spy on journalists who cover China in an apparent attempt to uncover sources and information.

In a report to its clients, which include the Post, security firm Mandiant has claimed to have uncovered evidence that hackers from China had targeted more than 30 journalists at western news outlets, stealing emails, contacts and files in the process.

Meanwhile Twitter last month claimed that it had been hit by a security breech in which around 250,000 accounts were compromised. Bob Lord, Twitter's director of information security, said the attack was "not the work of amateurs".

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, went one further, blaming China outright for being behind a series of security breaches and describing China as the world's "most sophisticated and prolific hacker".

Asked in a news conference this weekend about the claims, Li replied that he "sensed the presumption of guilt" in the question.

He added: "I think we should not make groundless accusations against each other, and spend more time doing practical things that will contribute to cyber-security."

Stating categorically that China did not support any such attack on cyber-security, the new premier said: "This is a worldwide problem. In fact China itself is a main target of such attacks."

US treasury secretary Jack Lew is expected to press Beijing over the issue of hacking during a visit to China this week.

[Person hacking computer via]