China’s Cyber Moves Hurting Beijing
Image Credit: Xhacker

China’s Cyber Moves Hurting Beijing


A new report by an arm of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence confirms what officials have privately lamented for several years:  the United States is the target of a vast array of cyber attacks, many focused on stealing intellectual property, originating in China. The report highlights the costs that worry American officials and corporate leaders, including the loss of expensive technology, the theft of military applications, and the undermining of the information-intensive U.S. economy. Indeed, vast economic espionage, conducted largely through cyber-operations, can diminish the United States’ strategic competitiveness. But there’s a flip side to Beijing’s cyber offensive – the strategic costs it imposes on China itself.

To be sure, China isn’t a solitary actor, and Russia and other countries are routinely fingered as major sources of online intrusions and hacking. But in recent years, a multitude of U.S. corporations, universities, government agencies, and other institutions – to say nothing of their counterparts in places like Japan, South Korea, and Europe – have suffered cyber attacks alleged to have originated in China. Indeed, the new report calls Chinese actors “the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.”

It’s easy to see how this pattern of behavior fits into Beijing’s oft-expressed desire to ascend quickly to global power status. Beijing, as the DNI report notes, is driven by a longstanding desire to attain the levels of economic prosperity enjoyed by the Western powers. This policy motivates many of China’s attempts at online malfeasance, including its efforts to acquire foreign technology, research plans, and proprietary intellectual property.

But this very approach challenges the core of China’s aspirations to a peaceful rise, and may have the effect of increasing the external constraints to that rise.

While a few years ago debate over China oscillated between those seeking to engage Beijing and those wishing to contain it, Washington has settled into a rough consensus on China policy that resembles closely the approach adopted by most Asian nations: deep economic and diplomatic engagement coupled with a strategy to hedge against the possibility of future Chinese aggression. As the United States and a number of Asian nations hedge, they are building up their own or each other’s militaries, deepening their pattern of security cooperation, and expanding their economic linkages. The result is an emerging power web that supplements the traditional hub-and-spoke American alliance system, with the virtual effect of Lilliputians tying down Gulliver.

November 19, 2011 at 16:08

All countries engage in cyber espionage…..thats a fact! Even the US. But we dont have a government recruiting armies of university kids like China does in trying to break into another countries businesses, defense contractors, electrical grids, etc. China is like a timid little mouse,…..or a child…..they cant approach their enemies directly so they do their dirty work in the shadows. But once a child is caught, then they can be disciplined. Thats what is not available quite yet to the US and needed to address the problem. This is really bordering on an act of war…..and likely the US will retaliate in some form. It waits to be seen how this evolves next few years as it cannot continue. I expect we will see a global united effort at the UN and other venues to address these attacks and new technology soon to pin point the origins. All countries will get involved. Once those two things occur, you will see policy in place to regulate and combat the movement of cyber criminals….and at that point China and Russia and others will be held accountable, once the proof is clear. We might actually see what we see with Iran and nuclear arms…..UN inspectors inside countries tracking down IP locations and dismantling cyber networks. Countries that resist, will be punished through trade and economic sanctions. Its coming….

November 14, 2011 at 00:12

@Yang zi: If you can give me a better word to describe someone that steals, I promise I’ll use that, otherwise I have to continue using “thief”.

November 13, 2011 at 23:52

@Yang zi:
“Why is editor allowing the vietnamese-observer insult a country like that? Can I say Vietnam is a like a hooker selling itself out and get away with it?”

My language seems hard, but china’s stealing is a FACT. Why don’t you try and counter my point, with FACTS, instead of turning around and insulting another country?

Yang zi
November 12, 2011 at 21:19

Why is editor allowing the vietnamese-observer insult a country like that? Can I say Vietnam is a like a hooker selling itself out and get away with it?

John Chän
November 12, 2011 at 13:56

@Yangzi: What can China gain? Seriously? Modern China sits on the shoulders of Western cerebral achievements, hence it has much to gain..

November 12, 2011 at 10:45

@Yangzi: ” what can China gain by attacking Diet website?”
Well, china is like a low-class thief, and will steal anything others left unattended.

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