Statement Regarding Professor Jerome Cohen’s Allegations of Spyware on Apple Devices Loaned to Chen Guangcheng by China Aid

China Aid Association
June 21, 2013

Update: Below is Bob Fu’s comment:

Prof. Cohen’s charges are serious, not only for Chen, but for all those of us who engage in human rights work in China. Is China spying on its critics? We call for a federal investigation into Prof. Cohen’s charges and will cooperate fully with such an investigation. 

ChinaAid constantly faces cyber-attacks from China, we have the highest protection available, both in software and US government assistance, to protect us from threats. We report all spyware attacks on our organization immediately to the FBI and assume NYU does the same. Did they in this case? If not why not? 

We are also sickened by efforts to make Chen’s departure from NYU into a partisan (and in some cases even an anti-Christian) issue. The American political discourse is indeed poisoned when such allegations are used so freely. Fighting for human rights in China should not be a partisan matter. They are an issue of human dignity, not religious or political affiliation.

In response to Professor Jerome Cohen’s allegations regarding spyware on the iPhone and iPad that China Aid loaned to Chen Guangcheng and his wife:

1. When China Aid learned that Chen was coming to the New York, China Aid purchased and activated a new iPhone and new iPad at an AT&T retail location in Midland, Texas.

2. Knowing that Chen would be anxious to contact his family in China after he reached New York, China Aid installed Skype from Apple’s App Store, the well-known internet calling software; this software was installed for the sole purpose of allowing Chen to contact his family in China. China Aid did not install any other non-Apple programs on either the iPhone or the iPad. China Aid has no knowledge of any spyware being installed on either the iPhone or the iPad.

3. Bob Fu was not in the United States when Chen arrived in New York, so Bob Fu’s wife Heidi delivered the iphone and ipad to Chen. Heidi Fu personally handed to the iphone and iPad to a member of the NYU staff while Chen was speaking to reporters outside Chen’s New York apartment.

4. The next day, Mrs. Fu met with Chen and his wife in their apartment; at that time she provided to them account information and temporary passwords for the iphone and ipad, along with instructions for setting up their own passwords on both devices.

5. The iPhone and iPad were held by NYU for one night before they were delivered to Chen and his wife; when they were eventually delivered, Chen told China Aid that the Skype app had been deleted.

6. China Aid loaned the iPhone and iPad to Chen as a gesture of welcome and friendship; China Aid continued to pay all associated charges for the use of the iPhone and iPad, but did not in any way monitor Chen’s use of either device.

7. China Aid first learned about these allegations when Bob Fu received a call from a reporter at Reuters; neither Chen nor NYU ever communicated concerns about spyware or any other problems with the iphone or ipad to China Aid.

8. China Aid has contacted the FBI and requested a full investigation of any tracking software or other hidden spyware installed on the iPhone and iPad loaned to Chen by China Aid. We have pledged full support to the FBI in this investigation, and hope that NYU will also provide full cooperation.

China Aid Contacts

Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Scroll to Top