China’s spies are literally everywhere

huawei
Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou

Last of a series

Yesterday we looked at China’s intensive internal surveillance network, today we will take a look at the country’s equally intensive foreign spy network.

China, according to national security experts in the United States, Canada and Australia, operates a sophisticated spy network that employs cyber attacks, universities, students and, more ominously, companies owned by the state or its proxies.

In yesterday’s press briefing, for example, President Trump got into a sparring match with a Chinese reporter working for Phoenix TV. The line of of questioning was peculiar and Trump asked her who worked for and whether it was state owned. She said is was privately owned. She lied.

Phoenix TV is “privately” owned in name only. It’s parent company is the state-owned cable utility. It is part of China’s spy network.

The issue of ownership, however, is really irrelevant. Every single company working in a foreign country is working under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party.

That is why the issue of Huawei 5G networks is so problematic. The concern is that the Chinese company’s rollout of the new wireless technology would give the CCP direct access to all data moving on the network.

As it is, the activity of state sponsored hackers in the US, Canada, Australia and Britain is well documented. China gained sensitive material in those breaches and compromised the national security of the affected countries.

China also uses Chinese students attending universities in the West to act as agents of the state. It also targets professors in the West to steal intellectual property and buy classified information.

David Vigneault, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said in a recent speech that China posed “the” biggest cyber threat.

CSIS spokesman John Townsend said, “Canadian industry and academic institutions are world leaders in various economic, technological and research sectors that are of interest to multiple foreign states,” he wrote in an email.

“These states seek to acquire Canadian technology and expertise by utilizing a range of traditional and non-traditional intelligence collection tradecraft.”

In Australia, a Chinese spy who defected revealed a broad network of spying that shocked the country.

In the United States, Harvard professors have been charged with lying about their Chinese connections.

In our rush to gain access to the Chinese market, it would appear that we have struck a Faustian bargain.

It is the Chinese, not us, who have gained the most from this relationship. We have opened up our countries to spies, all the while China hides behind a totalitarian, authoritarian curtain.


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For further reading:

Wired: China’s Five Steps For Recruiting Spies

 

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