China on Tuesday rejected as "totally groundless" the US allegation that Chinese spies were working to infiltrate the American government and blamed it on a handful of people who cling to Cold War mentality.
The sharp Chinese response came after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ran advertisements in San Francisco newspapers asking readers to provide information about Chinese espionage activities in the US.
"We would like to talk to individuals who have information about any foreign intelligence service that would intend to harm our country. We especially welcome anyone who has information about the Chinese (government) or state security," the FBI said in the advertisements that appeared in three Chinese language newspapers.
"The contents of the advertisements of the United States are totally groundless," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang said adding that China wanted to express its "indignation and resolute opposition" to the FBI 's action.
Qin said China would never do anything to overthrow a foreign government or undermine another's security interests or their territorial integrity and emphasised that Chinese security agencies fulfilled their responsibilities in accordance with law.
He blamed the incident on a "handful of people in the US, acting against the trend of time and cling to the Cold War mentality, attempting to sully China's image."
They were attempting to incite fears about the 'China's threat' theory as Beijing's influence grew, Qin said.
"China urges those involved in the United States to take immediate and effective measures to correct their erroneous acts and eradicate the terrible impact and refrain from doing anything that will undermine bilateral relations and friendship between the two peoples," he said.