Taipei: Taiwan's main Opposition party on Tuesday accused hackers backed by the Chinese state of stealing information related to its presidential campaign in the run up to elections in January 2012.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which favours Taiwan's independence from China, said that in the last four months, it had traced more than a dozen cyber attacks to Chinese IP addresses.

It said that hackers mainly targeted its presidential campaign planning as the party gears up for elections against the incumbent Ma Ying-jeou of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party.

"We believe it is a common practice for Chinese authorities to employ hackers to steal information abroad, and it poses a serious threat to global Internet safety," said spokesman Chen Chi-mai.

The accusation comes after the California-based computer security firm McAfee said last week that 72 targets across 14 countries were victims of a massive global cyber spying campaign, with China seen as the likely culprit.

Chinese state media decried that allegation as "irresponsible".

Taiwan and China have spied on each other ever since they split in 1949 at the end of a civil war. Beijing still regards the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

Observers say the DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, who is running against Ma in the elections, is the candidate less favoured by China.

Taiwan's government websites have frequently faced cyber attacks, usually during disputes between the island and the mainland.