Author Topic: What the US Prosecution of Chinese Military Hackers Says About US–China Relations  (Read 203 times)

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Offline flowers

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In a forceful series of statements Monday, the United States Department of Justice brought charges against five members of an elite cyberhacking squad in the Chinese military, who they accused of pilfering vast amounts of secret trade information from American companies for years.

The move has been called “unprecedented,” not least of all because it is a distinct departure from the usual approach the United States takes toward its relations with The People’s Republic of China, where strong emphasis is put on cooperation and slogans like “win-win.” While the United States and China like to focus on their common interests, the current indictment shows clearly that beneath that hopeful facade a sharp power rivalry continues to play out.

In many ways the indictment is just a small part of a much larger problem: The cases of espionage discussed are a tiny fraction of the Chinese regime’s vast infiltration, both cyber and otherwise, of U.S. companies in order to steal their technologies. (Experts say that hundreds of billions of dollars in technology has been siphoned off.)

It is also a manifestation, however carefully controlled, of deep strategic and ideological disagreements between the two countries, which have fundamentally opposing interests on questions like the rule and role of law, the limits of intelligence collection, and the relationship between corporations and the state.
What’s OK to Steal?

The United States is a known and successful collector of the intelligence and military secrets of foreign powers—indeed, it would be remiss of the country’s leaders were it not to engage in such activities.

But American leaders draw the line at using military operations to steal from private companies in other countries, and then feeding that information back to specially chosen firms in the United States.

The Chinese appear to have a very different view of the matter. Though officially, representatives for the regime said the recent charges are “concocted” and “absurd”—and that China is a great victim of U.S. cyberbullying—other official propaganda cries that the U.S.’s own position on the matter is hypocritical and self-serving.

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