US & Other Trade Partners Will Rebuke China For Cyber-Espionage Activities

President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping (not shown) speak to business leaders at the Great Hall of the People.
Thomas Peter / Getty Images

The United States and some of its trade partners will join together in a collective effort to condemn China for their cyber-espionage campaign, reports the the New York Times. The planned rebuke of China comes in response to the country’s alleged attempts to acquire intellectual property and trade secrets through illicit, state-coordinated activities.

The United States’ Justice Department has been working for over a decade to build a criminal case against Chinese hackers, Chinese companies, and Chinese government agencies that work clandestinely to acquire military and trade secrets. The illegal activities were a push to advance the “economic and geopolitical interests” of Beijing, the Justice Department alleges.

The efforts by the Justice Department were fast-tracked in 2018, with indictments aimed at accusing the largest Chinese intelligence-gathering organization of utilizing espionage to acquire sensitive military secrets from U.S. military contractors. The intel was allegedly acquired in order to advance China’s aerospace endeavors.

The countries of Australia, the U.K., Canada, Germany, and Japan are the countries predicted to give their support for condemnation of China’s alleged cyber-espionage activities. China will reportedly soon receive a joint statement drawn up between the U.S. and its trade partners — one that will express the condemnation of their country’s purported illegal campaign of cyber-espionage.

According to the New York Times, China’s cyber-espionage campaign was brought to light during Wednesday’s meeting at the World Trade Organization forum. The United States used the high-profile platform to accuse China of using “yearlong” illegal activities in order to modernize their country — and to help their military in weakening the “United States’ defensive edge.”

Dennis Shea, the American emissary, made this bold statement to World Leaders during the WTO meeting.

“China will force technology transfer, and outright steal it when it sees fit.”

Shea elaborated further upon this point.

“China will subsidize and maintain excess capacity in multiple industries, forcing producers in other economies to shut down. China will dump its products on our markets, claiming that all is O.K. because our consumers pay a bit less.”

The Justice Department broadly outlines the details of China’s cyber-espionage campaign in the indictment. Details within the document outline how Chinese hackers, known as the Advanced Persistent Threat 10, or APT10 for short, were said to be employed by a Chinese company, but were actually acting on the behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security’s Tianjin State Security Bureau.

The entrance to the Theodore Roosevelt Federal Building in DC
Millions of federal employees might have had their personal information stolen by Chinese hackers. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

During 2018, APT10 endeavored to commit espionage and cyber-hacking in 2018, the indictment additionally alleges. The indictment also states that as APT10 hacking skills got better, they became “more adept at overcoming network defenses and improving its tradecraft.”

According to Justice Department officials, members of APT10 — Chinese Nationals Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong — were charged with conspiracy to hack computers in order to steal certain individual’s identities. They were also charged with committing wire fraud.