Thursday, January 20, 2011, 1/20/2011 10:46:00 AM

China Oriented Espionage Getting Closer Scrutiny

By Todd

As you might guess, we don't sponsor all of the views of opinion pieces and trade secrets stories that we link or introduce to our readers. Nonetheless, we want you to read what ALL sides are saying in order to be able to judge for yourselves what is useful and what might not be.

Now, with that disclaimer established - we link you to a piece in the online magazine Right Side News which examines the ubiquity of Chinese involvement in oh-so-many of the trade secret and industrial espionage cases that become reported.

The piece notes: "But that does not mean these efforts are directed from Beijing. History shows that such espionage activities are not well coordinated. Various Chinese company executives (who are also Communist Party officials) have different requirements for their industrial espionage. In cases where two SOEs are competing to sell similar products, they may both try to recruit agents to steal the same technology. There are also a growing number of private Chinese companies getting involved in espionage. One notable example was when Du Shanshan and Qin Yu passed on technology from GM to Chery Automobile, a private, rather than state-run, manufacturer. In the five trade-secret cases in 2010, most of the suspects were caught because of poor tradecraft. They stored data on their hard drives, sent e-mails on company computers and had obvious communications with companies in China. This is not the kind of tradecraft we would expect from trained intelligence officers. Most of these cases probably involved ad hoc agents, some of whom were likely recruited while working in the United States and offered jobs back in China when they were found to have access to important technology."

We're not recognized experts in theft by Chinese nationals but our continuing review of these reported cases confirms the stated view - rather than a product of directed activities by Chinese government agents, many of the recent reported cases appear to be ones in which the alleged or convicted thief just desires to make a name or money for themselves and are not carried off or perpetrated by expert spies.

Now, this piece we've linked you to also draws some conclusions we don't know what to make of, including: "First-generation Chinese carried out 10 of the 11 publicized cases in the United States last year. Some were living or working temporarily in the United States, others had become naturalized American citizens (with the exception of Xian and Li, who were caught in Hungary). The Chinese intelligence services rely on ethnic Chinese agents because the services do not generally trust outsiders. When recruiting, they also use threats against family members or the individuals themselves. Second- and third-generation Chinese who have assimilated in a new culture are rarely willing to spy, and the Chinese government has much less leverage over this segment of the ethnic-Chinese population living overseas. In the 11 cases in 2010, it is not clear what payments, if any, the agents might have received. In some cases, such as those involving the trade secrets from Valspar and Ford, the information likely helped the agents land better jobs and/or receive promotions back in China. Cash does not typically rule the effectiveness of newly recruited Chinese spies, as it might with Western recruits. Instead, new Chinese agents are usually motivated by intelligence-service coercion or ideological affinity for China."

Where do they get their data or information regarding the motivations and conclusions of Chinese intellegence operatives? To state a conclusion is not the same as supporting a claim. Also, where do they get their data or information regarding the "new Chinese agents"? We have no idea.

Anyway, we thought this piece was of significant interest to our readers to link you up to it.


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