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07/30/2020 Vatican (International Christian Concern) –  Months before talks on renewal of a 2018 Sino-Vatican deal that helped solve the problems on the appointment of bishops, Chinese hackers allegedly target the Holy See and the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, according to a monitoring group.

According to New York Times, a group called RedDelta began its attacks in May with an eye on September talks to renew the agreement, based on a report published Tuesday by the U.S.-based Recorded Future, which tracks state-backed cyber-attacks.

The group also added that the Hong Kong Study Mission to China — a key link between the Vatican and China — and the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions also were targeted.

“The suspected intrusion into the Vatican would offer RedDelta insight into the negotiating position of the Holy See ahead of the deal’s September 2020 renewal,” reads Recorded Future’s report, which also notes the attack could provide information about the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong’s position on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

The report also suggested “the targeting of entities related to the Catholic Church is likely indicative of CCP [Communist Party of China] objectives in consolidating control over the ‘underground’ Catholic church and ‘sinicizing religions’ in China.”

This discovery came days after the U.S. Department of Justice accused two Chinese state-sponsored cyperspies for hacking into the personal data of dissidents, clergy, and human rights, leading to the arrest of a house church pastor.
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