At their “shirtsleeves” summit in California earlier this month, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping made a bunch of broad, grandiose, but ultimately empty promises about “working together” on enhancing global cyber security, and while they were in agreement over the hot-button issue of denuclearizing North Korea, they didn’t substantively address the elephant in the room by discussing any hard-line rules or commitments about all of the cyber espionage going on. Obama doesn’t want to push too hard on the delicate diplomatic situation, and Xi has no desire to cede an inch on acknowledging China’s extensive and state-organized hacking operations — it is much too profitable an endeavor for them, both for commercial and government purposes.

The Chinese communist party refrained from making any direct statements on the Snowden leak case right after Snowden thumbed his nose at the U.S. last week in confirming to Chinese media that the U.S. is indeed cyberspying on targets in both Hong Kong and China (as if both countries aren’t already perfectly well aware of the other’s activities, or something), but here it comes — complete with the usual hypocritical, “we’re just a victim here!”, thinly veiled outrageous outrage. Via Reuters:

China made its first substantive comments on Monday to reports of U.S. surveillance of the Internet, demanding that Washington explain its monitoring programs to the international community.

Several nations, including U.S. allies, have reacted angrily to revelations by an ex-CIA employee over a week ago that U.S. authorities had tapped the servers of internet companies for personal data.

“We believe the United States should pay attention to the international community’s concerns and demands and give the international community the necessary explanation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing.

The Chinese government has previously not commented directly on the case, simply repeating the government’s standard line that China is one of the world’s biggest victims of hacking attacks.

(Oh yes, I’m sure that they would just love an explanation, the better to improve their own extensive international hacking and domestic surveillance operations, you know.) It’s pretty much what you’d expect — they have to say something, and they’re sticking with their general deny, deny, deny tactic — but it’s still pretty rich coming from these guys.