China's Growing Spy Threat (Page 2 of 5)

And while experts agree that the United States is the single most important target, Chinese agents involved in military and political espionage have been convicted all over the world. In late July, for example, Taiwanese General Lo Hsien-che was sentenced to life in prison for handing over military secrets to Beijing. The case shocked the nation. But it wasn’t necessarily surprising to some observers.

‘Anyone who has followed developments in Taiwan over the years knows how deeply Chinese forces have infiltrated Taiwan’s military, especially its senior officers,’ noted Taiwan-based journalist and security analyst J. Michael Cole in a recent opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal. He noted that, because Taiwan is so infested with Chinese spies, any US weapons sales to the nation could result in sensitive military secrets ending up in Beijing. 

Europe isn’t immune either. In Belgium, headquarters of NATO and the European Union, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Foreign Affairs separately accused China of cyber spying and attempting to compromise critical government networks in 2008. The next year, reports of Chinese intelligence efforts directed at top Australian officials, including the prime minister, made headlines worldwide.  

Even in Russia, widely considered at least a tenuous ally of the Chinese regime, Chinese spies have been convicted in recent years. One man, Igor Reshetin, was found guilty of providing information useful in designing nuclear missiles to a Chinese state-owned firm. In early September, Russian prosecutors charged two more academics with selling military secrets to China.  

Aside from stealing political and military information, another important goal of Chinese intelligence agents is to gain influence among members of a target country’s political elite. According to experts, China uses bribes, blackmail, women, lavish vacations in China, and other means to compromise officials worldwide.

Even former US President Bill Clinton was widely accused of being too close to Beijing for comfort. ‘President Clinton promised to restrain those who ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre, but he has now allowed these men whose hands are stained with the blood of martyrs of freedom into the highest reaches of our military defences, and made available to them significant portions of our advanced military technology,’ charged former US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer in a letter to congressional leaders.

Indeed, one of the prime targets of Chinese intelligence, according to analysts, is information to create comprehensive databases on current and future leaders of free countries. ‘They want to arm their diplomats and businessmen with the inside scoop to be able to expand their political and economic allies to help foster ruling elites that will never challenge the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist regime,’ says Fisher.

In Canada, the issue was raised just last year. During a TV interview, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Director Richard Fadden suggested that some politicians in Canada were connected to certain foreign governments—almost universally assumed to mean China.

After causing an uproar among some sectors, however, the Canadian spy chief tried to downplay the remarks. ‘He was very rapidly shut down by some irresponsible—almost suspicious’—officials, who denied that there was any problem, says Michel Juneau-Katsuya, the former Asia-Pacific head of CSIS.

‘Actually, Mr. Fadden was talking about something that has been happening for decades,’ Juneau-Katsuya says. The strategy of gaining influence among foreign power brokers is an important tool in China’s espionage arsenal, he says. It’s also one that is rarely discussed.

Theft of Trade Secrets

The theft of trade secrets, technology, and corporate information is another one of China’s specialties. ‘When it comes to economic espionage, China is universally recognized as at the top,’ says Juneau-Katsuya, who now serves as the CEO of security consulting firm The Northgate Group. ‘What we know is that, by far, they are at the top when it comes to stealing information.’ 

Oftentimes the line between military and economic espionage is blurry. The case of engineer Dongfan ‘Greg’ Chung, sentenced last year, is just one example among many. Chung was caught passing sensitive US aerospace and rocket secrets to China that he stole while working for defence contractors Boeing and Rockwell International.

In other cases, the foreign technology stolen by Chinese spies is used to further oppress the population. A revealing lawsuit filed by US software maker Cybersitter, seeking more than $2 billion in damages, accused China and other conspirators of stealing its proprietary filtering code. The software was then apparently used to help censor the web in China.

‘They have a multitude of goals all at once: To catch up on the difference in technology, to gain influence around the world, to know more about where the competition is, and definitely to not have to pay for research and development,’ says Juneau-Katsuya. The R&D element is key.

Often, the motivation for stealing trade secrets is purely economic. In addition to saving unfathomable amounts of time and capital, using stolen information crucial to a company’s survival can actually lead to shutting down China’s foreign competition.

So, partly because the return on investment from spying is so much greater than from R&D, experts say the budgets of Chinese intelligence agencies have soared in recent years. That trend is expected to continue indefinitely.

But while it may be cost effective for China, the price tag paid by others is massive. Precise figures are, of course, impossible to calculate. But in 1995, when Juneau-Katsuya was at CSIS, he tried to get an estimate: It was somewhere in the neighbourhood of $10 billion to $12 billion per year. Since then the problem has only grown.

In Germany, the cost is high, too, Berthold Stoppelkamp of the German Association for Security in Industry and Commerce (ASW) told the press in 2009. He estimated the damages from economic espionage—primarily Russian and Chinese—at around €20 billion every year. But it could be closer to €50 billion, he noted.

An estimate on the cost of economic espionage to the US economy was offered by FBI Director Robert Mueller in 2003: over $250 billion per year. And counterintelligence officials with the Bureau and other experts agree that China is by far the most serious threat. 

‘This espionage saps US companies of their industrial lead in the new technologies and materials,’ notes Wortzel. ‘And often the Chinese incorporate what they have learned into new weapon systems that can be used against the US, its allies, and friends.’

And because the threat is continually evolving and comes from multiple directions, it’s difficult to deal with, experts say. China uses all known means of stealing information even as it develops ever more ingenious schemes.

God is my Judge
August 29, 2013 at 13:33

You 2 are hysterical. You don't fool anyone. Your ill-referenced quip that you are chinese and should be owed money because you could be an asset is a nice coy maneuver. Straight from the 36 strategems. 

You and John Chan, haha. What do they pay you on top of the peanuts ?

Daniel God is my Judge
August 29, 2013 at 13:04

Yes, but if there was a certain segment of the population not in America, could you imagine how safe it would be? A majority of all violent crime and same race on same race is committed by them.

I lived in China as well and felt generally safer from violent crime. But, if you were a female chinese who wanted to have more than 1 child, I would all of a sudden not feel so safe… or what if you wanted to start a pro liberty group ? 

For instance this John Chan chap. You think he is really expressing his view? To tell you the truth I am sure the Chinese have software that allows them to recognize an anti-China article and they send at least 1 person to do PR damage control. 

Just read any article on dailymail that comes out about China and there will be at least 10 pro-CCP writers acting coy as if they aren't agents working for their beloved motherland.

[...] [...]

[...] to enforce its “one-child policy.” Savage persecution of Christians and political opposition, harvesting of body organs from dissidents, concentration camps for critics, mass slaughter, failed central planning, and more, have become the norm. Indeed, the Chinese [...]

[...] U.S. counterintelligence officials said last year that the communist Chinese regime was the world’s biggest perpetrator of economic espionage, with a potential to jeopardize hundreds of billions of GDP dollars every year. One of Beijing’s primary methods, of course, is the use of Chinese “companies” to gobble up intelligence and intellectual property. [...]

American Trash Calling Pot Black
September 3, 2012 at 11:48

"‘When you consider that China’s intelligence community views any foreign-deployed Chinese citizen, any Chinese delegation, all Chinese criminal networks, and all overseas Chinese with any tangible affinity or connection to the Motherland as a target for recruitment, then you have to find a different way to measure,’ Fisher explains. This has to start with the consideration that any Chinese, especially those from China, from student to CEO, are potential active intelligence assets.’.  "
It is obvious Mr Fisher is speaking for him self and Americans aboard.  We know Americans are being tapped every day to do their "patriotic" duty.
So, please speak for yourself Mr Fisher. So kindly do not attribute to us what you are but we are not. We are not the sinister orientals but you sir, are definitely, the sinister "gweilos".
Mr Li
Minister of Home Affairs

Dr. Rice
November 22, 2011 at 13:44

I remember reading in the art of war something along the lines of “a small, but poorly funded army is still more expensive than a large, lavishly paid spy network.” This is all I am seeing when I read this.

I am sure the key to understanding the Chinese can be found when you look at their history and philosophies.

October 2, 2011 at 17:51

Yang Jisheng, formerly of Xinhua researched and published Tombstone, in Hong Kong, of course, not in PRC. Based on years of reading and assessing local government documents he estimates some 40 million extra deaths due to the Great Leap Forward. Other recent research supports this figure.
This, ata time when Mao knew about the famine but was selling grain to the Soviet Union in exchange for nuclear weapons know how. John Chan, your ignorance and blindness to facts make very good companions to your inhumanity and heartlessness.

September 25, 2011 at 22:25

What does kremlinology and china watcher mean??? Study hard.

Kung Pao
September 25, 2011 at 05:57

@Ozivan: Technically, they’re the same, but morally killing your own is worse (you know why). The irony is CCP wanted people to call him great hero; only in communist countries !

Mao and HCM were extremely violent guys. Ghandi should have offered crash course “Introduction to non-violent methods” to them.

Charlie T.
September 24, 2011 at 22:58

What I have noticed about all of the attacks on Mr. Newman and the article is that not a single one of them disputes a single fact or claim made by one of the documents or people who are talked about in the article. Saying that the United States or white people or Europeans or whoever has done bad things in the past and in the future does not change anything and this article was obviously about China not what the United States has done.

You might be interested to know that I have followed Mr. Newman’s work closely for years and you might be surprised to know that he has done very much reporting on the activities of the United States regime and its spying and war making.

September 24, 2011 at 14:17

America’s Already Grown Spy Threat. White Americans killed their own people, their fellow nationals, the Native Americans and African Americans; the American government peddled people to libya for torture in return for their answers; the american government has more than 750 military bases overseas and has invaded, since 1980, Grenada; Panama; Iraq twice; Afghanistan; Libya and others. China does execute the occasional corrupt banker/mayor/politician. The U.S. rewards them with cabinet positions instead. The Chinese national representative body is probably more representative, when measured by incomes, than the U.S. Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court has made U.S. elections a joke. they are now auctions, not elections. And CCTV is less propagandistic than Fox. Alex Newman is a dope; or a shill; or a lobbyist. but a journalist, he ain’t.

September 24, 2011 at 02:03

@John Chan: I don’t believe the 100,000,000 figure nor do I believe any figure you or CCP provide. I go by the link I provided ozivan.

No need to insult others.

John Chan
September 23, 2011 at 22:35

In China, wealth transfer from the have areas to have-not areas as matter of fact and duty, no one make a big fuss about it. When the natural disasters come, the have areas all pitch in to rebuild the disaster areas free of charge. It sounds like socialism to me.

Yet there are disasters in Europe, none of the EU members want to pitch in without charging arm and leg interest for the half hearted funds they provided. It seems Europeans are heartless and no compassion for their own kind, they only care nickels and dines. Yet they claimed they are civilized, democratic and caring human rights.

Comparing the above two contrast facts, I just wonder what’s good of democracy and western civilization; they put money in front of humanity.

September 23, 2011 at 19:47

I look forward to the results of your research, and of course your judgment on Mao from this. Please keep in mind three things:
1)Take into account the duration factor. The Great Leap drama lasted only 2-3 years. So, apart from the absolute number, there is the intensity.
2)Take into account the intention or not to cover-up, minimize, distort facts and incriminate others. The use/abuse of power and governmental tools to do so. We are not discussing the responsibility of a low-level executive but that of a leader, a head of state.
3)Don’t mix things up like John Chan. Leave aside the “crimes” of Lady Marcos and the poems of Dr José Rizal will you?

September 23, 2011 at 17:05

We aren’t talking about the West here we are talking about China but even though I disagree with the death penalty at least we have trial by jury and the death penalty is only applied in murder cases in some states and so on.
I do not think you can compare the execution of a murderer convicted by a jury of his peers in a court of law to deliberately starving people because they are too old or sick to work or harvesting organs from people because they believe in a religion the state does not like.
I didn’t make up any facts I quoted from a historian who examined CCP records and came to those conclusions and saying that people in the West or Japan have committed heinous crimes centuries ago in no way justifies what the CCP is doing or has done. I feel like you are trying to distract from the reality in any way you can but it is not working very well in my opinion.

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