With Chinese state media calling for “severe punishment” against American tech firms for helping the U.S government to steal secrets and monitor China, Reuters reports that Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu were raided this weekend. Chinese officials declined to give any reasons for the inspections. Whether this is ongoing blow-back from NSA revelations or a back-door Russia retaliation is unclear, but it is an escalation from the ongoing Windows 8 ban. Microsoft’s only response, “we’re happy to answer the government’s questions.”
Chinese government officials have made sudden visits to Microsoft offices in China, a spokeswoman for the company said on Monday, but declined to give any reason for the inspections.
China’s State Administration for Industry & Commerce, which Chinese media reported had made the visits to Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, declined to give comment outside of working hours.
Microsoft has been a focus of anti-U.S. technology sentiment in China since U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed widespread spying programs, including PRISM, which used U.S. company’s technology for cyber espionage.
In an e-mailed statement, the Microsoft spokeswoman said: “We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect and we’re happy to answer the government’s questions,” but declined to give any further information.