Corporate Espionage, Chinese Style

Corporate Espionage, Chinese Style
Customers shop at Apple's flagship store for smart products on Nanjing Road pedestrian street in Shanghai, China, on Feb. 23, 2022. (Costfoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Thomas McArdle


Some consider the very first case of international industrial spying to be the 18th-century letters of the missionary superior general of the French Jesuits, François-Xavier d’Entrecolles, describing the manufacture of the exquisite porcelain of Jingdezhen in southeast China, where what are recognized as the finest ceramics in the world trace their origins to the sixth century. It would not be long before d’Entrecolles and his fellow priests, despite a long tenure dating back to 1579, would be cast out by the imperial Chinese.

In the 21st century, the Lazy Susans—or canzhuo zhuanpan, as they are called in restaurants in mainland China—have turned, as in the case of former Apple software engineer Weibao Wang. The Department of Justice announced on May 16 that it has charged Wang with six counts pertaining to stealing Apple technology and providing it to a Chinese smart car company. Wang is the third ex-employee of Apple charged with stealing trade secrets from the global tech giant.

Wang strolled into the airport in San Francisco and fled to communist China shortly after federal authorities searched his home, which was nearly five years ago. The moves against him are being touted as part of the work of the new Disruptive Technology Strike Force of the Justice and Commerce Departments targeting foreign theft of advanced technologies. The Justice Department pointed to another California case in which a senior software engineer was arrested on May 5 for allegedly stealing source code of smart car manufacturing equipment.

The DOJ, in a possible distraction from the Chinese threat, also outlined charges filed in Brooklyn against a Greek NATO defense contractor it accuses of “helping to fuel Russia’s war effort,” and charges filed in Arizona against two Russian nationals who sent aircraft parts to Russian airline firms; not to mention charges filed in the Southern District of New York against a 39-year-old “Joe Hansen,” a native of the People’s Republic of China whose real name is Xiangjiang Qiao, for sanctions evasion, money laundering, and bank fraud offenses in utilizing a Chinese company to sell weapons of mass destruction production materials to Iran through the U.S. financial system. Like Wang, Qiao is within the PRC, beyond the reach of U.S. authorities.

President Joe Biden’s U.S. attorney prosecuting the Wang case is Izzy Ramsey, who clerked for a Jimmy Carter-appointed chief judge of the D.C. Circuit and was an associate with the San Francisco-based legal giant Keker, Van Nest & Peters, well-known for successfully defending both Google and Intel in high-profile cases.

Does this mean that even the left is waking up to the economic warfare of the Chinese Communist Party, whose designs entail military and economic supremacy in the world by mid-century? Not if the Biden administration is telling us China’s spying can casually be categorized with Moscow’s and Tehran’s. The Ayatollah and Vladimir Putin know very well, as does Kim Jong-un in North Korea, that nuclear attack on the United States or another NATO country is national suicide; their threat to the free world is of a much lesser magnitude than Beijing’s.

From the spy balloon that early this year just happened to wind its way from the Aleutians to across the continental United States, to the National Security Agency discovering China-linked hackers breaching U.S. telecom networks last year; from the penetration of the computer systems of government agencies of at least six U.S. states to the discovery last year of Chinese-government infiltration of email accounts of The Wall Street Journal for years; from the FBI in 2021 discovering Chinese government-backed hackers a decade ago targeting U.S. oil and natural gas pipeline companies to a Chinese hacking gang using VPN vulnerabilities to spy on U.S. defense contractors; from the DOJ in 2020 discovering Chinese nationals laundering cryptocurrency for a North Korean computer hacking operation to a Chinese espionage group stealing virtual currencies and spying on Hong Kong freedom fighters—all of these well-documented episodes are only a sample of the CCP’s broad strategy designed to emasculate the United States and the rest of the free world.

In sync with this, Beijing’s agents are making a concerted effort to soften up the cultural foundations of the West. For decades, even before Xi Jinping ascended to the party’s Central Committee in 2002, Beijing was cultivating an “international army of friendly propagandists” for China, through the spending of over $6 billion over the last decade and a half on the expansion of Chinese media friendly to the CCP around the world, like the Xinhua News Service, the Global Times, CCTV, and China Radio International, as well as enticing or co-opting foreign dignitaries and journalists to spread the news that mainland China is benevolent.

Even a decade and a half ago, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was warning of the underlying purpose of the projection of China’s “soft power” by the Beijing Ministry of Information’s many dozens of Confucius Institute chapters in educational institutions around the world. “For China to achieve its goals, people must admire China to some degree,” remarked Jim Judd while he was director of the CSIS and was monitoring Chinese operatives. “While academics debate the relative importance of hard power—tanks, missiles, guns and the like—versus soft power, the People’s Republic of China government views the soft power concept as useful.”

It might interest the left within Congress, and others claiming to be so interested in saving the planet, that on top of China being responsible for “27 percent of global carbon dioxide and a third of the world’s greenhouse gases” according to the World Bank, Beijing’s debt-trap diplomacy/overseas development finance, in its funding of roads, railways and power plants in the third world, is worth close examination. Some “63% of China-financed projects overlap with critical habitats, protected areas or Indigenous lands,” a team of international researchers reported in Nature magazine in 2021, “with up to 24% of the world’s threatened birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians potentially impacted by the projects.” The risks were widely distributed globally, “primarily distributed in northern sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of South America.” The researchers found that “Overall, China’s development projects pose greater risks than those of the World Bank, particularly within the energy sector.”

After nearly a century and a half of European missionary efforts within China, and tens of thousands of conversions, the Qing emperor in 1724 pronounced Christianity “heterodox” after coming to the conclusion that the evangelists’ work was a threat to his dynasty and the Chinese way of life. The free world does not have anywhere near the luxury of a century and a half to wake up to the nature of Beijing’s multi-pronged mission aimed at unseating the United States and its allies in military and economic global dominance.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Thomas McArdle was a White House speechwriter for President George W. Bush and writes for
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