(RepublicanWire.org) – The leaders of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Britain’s domestic security service MI5 made a rare joint appearance on Wednesday to warn business leaders about Chinese espionage threats, particularly those targeting Western technology companies’ intellectual property.
According to The Wall Street Journal, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned executives that the Chinese Communist Party is determined to steal technology as part of a broader effort to “undercut your business and dominate your market.”
“They’re set on using every tool at their disposal to do it,” he added.
Ken McCallum, director-general of MI5, highlighted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s global ambitions and his willingness to take “asymmetrical steps to catch up and overtake” the West.
“This means standing on your shoulders to get ahead of you. It means that if you are involved in cutting-edge tech, AI, advanced research or product development, the chances are your know-how is of material interest to the CCP,” McCallum said. “And if you have, or are trying for, a presence in the Chinese market, you’ll be subject to more attention than you might think. It’s been described as, the biggest wealth transfer in human history.”
McCallum said China is engaging in a wide range of tactics to get ahead, including theft of trade secrets, technology transfers, exploiting research, and cyber espionage.
He explained the CCP gathers information using multiple channels “in what is sometimes referred to as the ‘thousand grains of sand’ strategy.”
Among those channels is the use of “cultivating new contacts” through the “deceptive use of professional networking sites” using “seemingly flattering approaches” that “turn into something more insidious – and damaging.”
“In one example a British aviation expert received an approach online, ostensibly went through a recruitment process, and was offered an attractive employment opportunity. He travelled twice to China where he was wined and dined. He was then asked – and paid – for detailed technical information on military aircraft. The ‘company’ was actually run by Chinese intelligence officers. That’s where we stepped in,” McCallum explained.
McCallum also noted that the CCP is running “sophisticated interference efforts” in an effort to “bend our economy, our society, our attitudes to suit the Chinese Communist Party’s interests.”
He added that the CCP is working “to set standards and norms that would enable it to dominate the international order,” like “normalising mass theft as ‘the cost of doing business these days.’”
“The widespread Western assumption that growing prosperity within China and increasing connectivity with the West would automatically lead to greater political freedom has, I’m afraid, been shown to be plain wrong,” McCallum warned. “But the Chinese Communist Party is interested in our democratic, media and legal systems. Not to emulate them, sadly, but to use them for its gain.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry pushes back on FBI Director Wray’s statement about threat China poses.
China warned that the United States is “the biggest threat to world peace, stability and development.”
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijan made the comments after Wray gave a speech in London.
“The relevant U.S. politician has been playing up the so-called China threat to smear and attack China,” Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing when asked about Wray’s comments.
Zhao added that “facts have fully proven that the U.S. is the biggest threat to world peace, stability and development.”
“We urge this U.S. official to have the right perspective, see China’s developments in an objective and reasonable manner, and stop spreading lies and stop making irresponsible remarks,” Zhao said.
The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) warned that as tensions between Washington and Beijing grow, China is seeking to “exploit U.S. subnational relationships to influence U.S. policies and advance PRC geopolitical interests.”
The NCSC warned that Chinese influence operations in the U.S. are to expand support for PRC interests among state and local leaders and to use those relationships to “pressure Washington for policies friendlier to Beijing.”
“The PRC understands U.S. state and local leaders enjoy a degree of independence from Washington and may seek to use them as proxies to advocate for national U.S. policies Beijing desires, including improved U.S. economic cooperation with China and reduced U.S. criticism of China’s policies towards Taiwan, Tibetans, Uyghurs, pro-democracy activists and more,” the NCSC explained.
The intelligence community explained that PRC foreign influence activities can be “overt,” such as public diplomacy, where the role of the PRC government is “open and unobscured,” according to the NCSC. But those activities can also be “covert,” where the PRC’s role is hidden. The activities can also be “coercive or even criminal in nature.”
Top Biden administration intelligence officials have been sounding the alarm on the threat China poses for months.
In March, the intelligence community annual threat assessment warned that China is increasingly a “near-peer competitor, challenging the United States in multiple arenas – especially economically, militarily and technologically – and is pushing to change global norms and potentially threatening its neighbors.”
And in April, CIA Director William Burns issued a similar warning to Wray’s – also noting that China has been “a silent partner” in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.
Burns, at the time, said China is “in many ways, the most profound tests the CIA has ever faced,” calling China a “formidable competitor lacking in neither ambition nor capability.”