San Luis Obispo (GRN) — After a failed diplomatic attempt by the Chinese government to have the United States of America extradite a California college student, the Chinese government raised tensions between the two nations by ordering a military strike on him while on American soil.
Jeffrey Cox, a 25-year-old student at Cuesta College, was returning from a friend’s wedding in nearby Pismo Beach when a missile launched by a Chinese submarine off the west coast, in international waters, struck the van in which he was traveling. 11 others also traveling in the large passenger van were killed along with Cox. Authorities who arrived at the scene shortly afterward pronounced all of them dead.
Cox was accused by the Chinese in 2012 of being the hacker that had penetrated the government’s secretive computer network, locked behind what has been nicknamed the “Great Firewall of China.” Cox, a computer science major, disputed the allegation. After an FBI inquiry found no evidence to substantiate China’s claims, Cox defiantly told a reporter that, “China’s oppression of its own people deserves our attention—not their silly claims about some small-town hacker in California. These people are murderers!”
“Jeff’s words turned prophetic after his death,” said Adam Spryton, a longtime friend and Cox’s college roommate. “He always talked about how the Chinese government killed their own people, and now they’ve gone and killed him. It’s insane,” he said.
No representative from the People’s Republic of China would offer comment on the missile strike, citing ongoing, sensitive negotiations with the U.S. Department of State. However, the Chinese government in the past claimed that not only did Cox hack into their firewall, but that he downloaded state secrets in the process.
A high level source inside the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, speaking on condition of anonymity, indicated that Chinese officials obtained intelligence that Cox was traveling with fellow hackers to a meeting of their local club, which Chinese officials believe was responsible for the hack and theft of state secrets.
“Satellite intelligence revealed that Mr. Cox was together with others responsible for this assault on our nation’s security, and decided that the opportunity could not be missed,” the source said. “The American government wouldn’t take care of this problem, so Chinese officials were forced to.”
Local officials allege, in contrast, that those in the wedding caravan were fellow college students, mostly friends of the bride, who barely knew Cox. “These weren’t a bunch of hackers,” said Sheriff Tom Petrison. “These were some innocent kids for crying out loud! What in the world could they have done to deserve this?”
The White House released a brief comment following the attack, saying that “we cannot stand by and allow an attack on our sovereign soil to go unanswered. The blood of innocent Americans cries out for justice, and we intend to hold those accountable responsible for their actions.”