Chinese Espionage Against The United States (Military, Economic, & Government)

"This survey lists 152 publicly reported instances of Chinese espionage directed at the United States since 2000. It does not include espionage against other countries, U.S. firms or persons located in China, nor an additional 50 cases involving attempts to smuggle munitions or controlled technologies from the U.S. to China.


We also did not include more than 1200 cases of intellectual property litigation brought by U.S. companies against Chinese entities in either the U.S. or Chinese legal systems."


Survey of Chinese-linked Espionage in the United States Since 2000

Center for Strategic and International Studies


1) CCP's Unrestricted Warfare Doctrine (超限战): Warfare That Transcends All Boundaries

"Two PLA Air Force senior colonels, Qiao Liang [STC: 0829 5328] of the PLA Air Force Political Department and Wang Xiangsui [STC: 3769 3276 4482] of the Guangzhou Military District PLA Air Force Political Department, published "Unrestricted Warfare" - Assumptions on War and Tactics in the Age of Globalization" in February 1999. Rather than examining new military technologies, the two senior colonels take a step back and discuss how the coming of various new technologies in general is in turn bringing changes in military tactics, strategies and organization.

'Unrestricted Warfare' means that any methods can be prepared for use, information is everywhere, the battlefield is everywhere, and that any technology might be combined with any other technology, and that the boundaries between war and non-war and between military and non-military affairs has systematically broken down.

New weapons concepts are completely different from new concept weapons. New weapons concepts is a broad conception of weapons that transcends the military field whatever method can be used to fight a war is a weapon. In this view, whatever provides benefits to mankind can also be turned around to be a weapon to harm mankind. That is to say that there is nothing in the world that cannot become a weapon. This smashes our conception of just what a weapon is. Just as technology is multiplying the number of different kinds of weapons, new thinking breaks down the distinction between weapon and non-weapon.

To our way of thinking, a planned stock market crash, a computer virus attack, making the currency exchange rate of an enemy country erratic, and spreading rumors on the Internet about the leaders of an enemy country can all be thought of as new concept weapons. This new way of thinking puts weapons into the daily lives of civilians. New concept weapons can make of war something that even military professionals will find hard to imagine. Both soldiers and civilians will be disturbed to see items in their everyday lives become weapons that can attack and kill.


The combination of weapons systems can create a new kind of technical space a new battlefield that never existed before. Electronic and information technologies have created a net space, which can become a battlefield. The battlefield extends simultaneously at the micro, medium-range and macro level as well as in various hybrid technical spaces in ways in never did before. The proliferation of weapons and technologies has blurred the distinction between the soldiers and civilians and between the battlefield and the non-battlefield. The battlefield is everywhere. From a computer room or on from the trading floor of a stock exchange a lethal attack on a foreign country can be launched. In such a world is there anywhere that is not a battlefield? Where is the battlefield? It is everywhere."


PLA Colonels on "Unrestricted Warfare"

Qiao Liang (PLA Air Force Political Department) and Wang Xiangsui (Guangzhou Military District PLA Air Force Political Department)


2) For those cases where we could identify actor and intent, we found: 38% of incidents sought to acquire military technology

2003: Chinese hackers exfiltrated national security information from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, including nuclear weapons test and design data, and stealth aircraft data.


June 2005: Noshir Gowadia, an American citizen, took six trips to China between 2003-2005 to assist with its cruise missile system by developing a stealthy exhaust nozzle and was paid at least $110,000 by China. He provided them with designs for a low-signature cruise missile exhaust system.


October 2005: Chi Mak and other Chinese intelligence operatives collected technical information about the Navy’s current and future warship technologies. Chi intended to export the information to China.


November 2005: Moo Ko-Suen was a representative for an American aerospace firm for 10 years in Taiwan, during which time he acted as an agent for the Chinese government and tried to buy sophisticated military parts and weapons, including an F-16 fighter jet engine and cruise missiles, for China.


2005: Chinese hackers infiltrated U.S. Department of Defense networks in an operation known as “Titan Rain.” They targeted U.S. defense contractors, Army Information Systems Engineering Command; the Defense Information Systems Agency; the Naval Ocean Systems Center; and, the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense installation.


August 2006: Chinese hackers infiltrated the Department of Defense’s non-classified NIPRNet, downloading 10 to 20 terabytes of data.


December 2006: Chinese hackers infiltrated the U.S. Naval War College


2007: Chinese hackers breached the Pentagon’s Joint Strike Fighter project and stole data related to the F-35 fighter jet.


February 2008: The Department of Justice charged Dongfan Chung, a former Boeing engineer, with economic espionage and serving as a foreign agent for China. Prosecutors determined that he had been acting on Chinese orders since at least 1979. He stole Boeing trade secrets relating to the Space Shuttle, the C-17 military transport aircraft and the Delta IV rocket for China.


February 2008: Tai Shen Kuo, a U.S. citizen, was arrested for providing China with classified information between March 2007 to February 2008. Kuo obtained the information from a Pentagon weapons system policy analyst, Gregg Bergersen.


May 2010: Glenn Shriver attempted to gain access to classified national defense information on behalf of Chinese intelligence officers.

September 2012: Sixing Liu, a Chinese national, stole technical data related to defense items and conspired to give the information to China.


February 2014: Amin Yu stole systems and components for marine submersible vehicles from U.S. manufacturers for the benefit of a state-owned entity in China.


March 2016: Kun Shan Chun, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for acting as an agent of China. Chun, an FBI employee with a top-secret clearance, provided a Chinese government official with sensitive, nonpublic information about FBI surveillance methods, internal organization, and identify and travel patterns of an FBI special agent.


January 2018: Chinese hackers infiltrated a U.S. Navy contractor working for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. 614 gigabytes of material related to a supersonic anti-ship missile for use on U.S. submarines were taken, along with submarine radio room information related to cryptographic systems and the Navy submarine development unit’s electronic warfare library.


June 2018: Ron Rockwell Hansen, a former DIA officer, attempted to transmit national defense information to China.


August 2020: Guan Lei was charged with destruction of evidence during an FBI investigation. Guan is being investigated for transferring sensitive software and other technical data to the PLA and China's National University of Defense Technology.


September 2020: Baimadajie Angwang, an NYPD officer and U.S. Army reservist, was charged as acting as an illegal agent of the PRC. He attempted to gather information on Chinese citizens living in the U.S. and recruit intelligence sources.


Survey of Chinese-linked Espionage in the United States Since 2000

Center for Strategic and International Studies

3) For those cases where we could identify actor and intent, we found: 48% of incidents sought to acquire commercial technologies

May 2001: Beginning in January 2000, Hai Lin, Kai Xu, and Yong-Qing Cheng formed a joint venture with the Datang Telecom Technology Company of Beijing to steal trade secrets from Lucent.


July 2004: Yan Ming Shan, a Chinese employee of a U.S. software firm that develops land sensing technology for oil companies, gained unauthorized access to the company’s computer system and attempted to bring sensitive technology back to China.


May 2006: Shanshan Du stole trade secret information from General Motors for the benefit of a Chinese competitor, Chery Automobile.


June 2006: Lan Lee and Yufei Ge conspired to steal trade secrets related to computer chip design and development from NetLogics Microsystems and TSMC.


December 2006: Xiaodong Sheldon Meng, a resident of Beijing and Cupertino California, stole military IP and trade secrets from his former employer, the silicon valley firm Quantum3D.


December 2006: Fei Ye and Ming Zhong stole trade secrets from two American technology firms to benefit China. They intended to utilize the secrets to build microprocessors for their company, Supervisor Inc. which would share any profits made on the sale of chips to the City of Hangzhou and the Province of Zhejiang in China.


February 2008: The Department of Justice charged Dongfan Chung, a former Boeing engineer, with economic espionage and serving as a foreign agent for China. Prosecutors determined that he had been acting on Chinese orders since at least 1979. He stole Boeing trade secrets relating to the Space Shuttle, the C-17 military transport aircraft and the Delta IV rocket for China.


March 2009: Chinese hackers infiltrated Coca-Cola Co. computer networks and stole trade secret information, including information related to the attempted $2.4 billion acquisition of Huiyuan Juice Group.


October 2009: Hong Meng accepted employment as a faculty member at Peking University, and thereafter began soliciting funding to commercialize his research from Dupont on Organic Light-Emitting Diodes. He shared trade secret chemical processes, including those related to OLEDs, with PKU.


January 2010: Beginning in 2009, China carried out a series of cyberattacks to steal trade secret information from dozens of U.S. companies including Google, Yahoo, Adobe, Dow Chemical, and Morgan Stanley.


January 2011: A Chinese company, Pangang Group, and Walter Liew attempted to steal trade secret information related to TiO2 technology from DuPont.


October 2011: Chinese hackers infiltrated at least 48 chemical and defense companies and stole trade secret information and sensitive military information.


November 2012: Wenfeng Lu, a Chinese national, stole trade secret information for medical devices from American medical equipment manufacturers for the benefit a Chinese firm.


May 2014: Chinese military hackers targeted six American companies in the power, metals, and solar production industries and stole trade secret information. The U.S. Department of Justice indicted them and identified them as members of the People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398.


September 2014: Chinese company Huawei repeatedly attempted to steal trade secret information about robotics designs from T-Mobile.


November 2014: Yu Long worked at URTC from 2008-2014, but was recruited by the state-run Shenyang Institute of Automation in 2014. Upon departure Long stole confidential IP, trade secrets, and export-controlled technology to give to SIA for the benefit of China.


January 2016: Tao Li and co-defendants Yu Xue & Yan Mei engaged in conspiracy to steal trade secrets from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for the benefit of a Chinese firm.


January 2018: Yi-Chi Shih and Kiet Ahn Mai stole trade secret information from Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) technology for the benefit of Chengdu GaStone Technology Company (CGTC), a competing Chinese firm.


November 2018: Beginning in March 2017, U.S. citizen Xiaorong You and Chinese national Liu Xiangchen conspired to steal trade secrets worth more than $100 million related to the development of BPA-free coatings. You stole trade secrets from the two American companies that employed her and provided them to Liu, whose company used them to create products that would compete with the two American companies in question.


April 2019: Chinese hackers stole General Electric’s trade secrets concerning jet engine turbine technologies.


June 2020: Hao Zhang, a Chinese national, was convicted under charges of economic espionage and theft of trade secrets from two companies involved semiconductor design and processing.


October 2020: Lei Gao was charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets from a U.S. oil and gas manufacturer to benefit a Chinse firm


Survey of Chinese-linked Espionage in the United States Since 2000

Center for Strategic and International Studies


4) For those cases where we could identify actor and intent, we found: 14% of incidents sought to acquire information on U.S. civilian agencies or politicians

July 2006: Chinese hackers infiltrated the U.S. State Department’s unclassified network and stole sensitive information and passwords.


May 2008: Chinese officials inserted spyware onto the laptop of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez during a trade mission.


November 2008: Chinese hackers infiltrated the networks of Barack Obama and John McCain’s presidential campaigns and exfiltrated information about future policy agendas.


March 2009: Chinese hackers stole information from the Office of Senator Bill Nelson in Florida.


April 2011: Chinese hackers engaged in a phishing campaign aimed at compromising hundreds of Gmail passwords for accounts of prominent people, including senior U.S. officials.


August 2011: Chinese hackers engaged in a series of cyber-attacks against 72 entities, including multiple U.S. government networks.


March 2012: NASA’s Inspector General reported that Chinese hackers conducted 13 attacks against NASA computers in 2011. In one attack, intruders stole 150 user credentials that could be used to gain unauthorized access to NASA systems. Another attack at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory allowed intruders to gain full access to key JPL systems and sensitive user accounts.


January 2013: The FBI warned Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office that one of her San Francisco-based drivers was a Chinese intelligence asset.


May 2013: Chinese hackers compromised the U.S. Department of Labor and at least nine other agencies, including the Agency for International Development and the Army Corps of Engineers’ National Inventory of Dams.


October 2013: Chinese hackers targeted a U.S. based think tank.


August 2014: Chinese hackers infiltrated the U.S. Investigations Services. This was one of the first steps in the 2015 OPM hack.


November 2014: Chinese hackers breached the U.S. Postal Service computer networks and exfiltrated data of approximately 800,000 employees.


April 2015: The Office of Personnel Management discovered that China had infiltrated its networks and stolen the personal information of federal employees, including security clearance information.


April 2017: Chinese hackers targeted a U.S. think tank.


October 2017: China allegedly carried out a cyberattack against a U.S. think tank and law firm, both of which were associated with fugitive Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui.


December 2018: Chinese hackers stole hundreds of gigabytes of data from computers of more than 45 technology companies and U.S. government agencies. The defendants also stole names, SSNs, DOBs, salary info, phone numbers, and email addresses of more than 100,000 U.S. Navy personnel.


July 2020: Four Chinese nationals were charged with visa fraud due to their connection with the PLA. Efforts included observing U.S. labs and institutions to replicate research and designs in China.


July 2020: Saw-Teong Ang, a University of Arkansas professor, was indicted for wire fraud for his acceptance of U.S contracting funds related to NASA and the Air Force while being employed by Chinese entities.


November 2020: Song Guo Zheng, a professor of internal medicine at Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University, pled guilty to making false statements to federal authorities as part of a scheme to use over $4 million in grants from the NIH to develop China’s expertise in rheumatology and immunology through his undisclosed partnership with a Chinese university controlled by the Chinese government.


Survey of Chinese-linked Espionage in the United States Since 2000

Center for Strategic and International Studies


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