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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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May 20, 2023

      The surveillance balloon that floated across the US before being shot down by an Air Force F-22 fighter allegedly marked the latest — and most brazen — effort by China to spy on the US.  China is the number one spier of the world.

     There have been scores of recent incidents in which Beijing has used a wide variety of methods to obtain intelligence, as well as military and commercial technology, from the US. In 2021, the Center for Strategic & International Studies think tank in Washington, DC, compiled a list of 160 incidents of Chinese espionage directed at the US since 2000.

     The survey showed that nefarious activity by Beijing appeared to be on the rise, with 24% occurring from 2000 through 2009 and 76% from 2010 through 2021. The CSIS noted that its list was derived from open-source material and likely didn’t comprise the actual total number of incidents. “It is perhaps noteworthy that of the 160 reported incidents we found, 89 occurred after [Chinese President] Xi Jinping took power,” it added.  Here are some of the ways that China has been accused of infiltrating the US:

     In 2020, the US Justice Department charged five Chinese nationals with hacking into the computer networks of more than 100 companies in the US and elsewhere.  The hackers, who were believed to remain at large in China, were described as part of “Advanced Persistent Threat 41,” a cyber-attack group that operates with the blessing of the Chinese Communist Party.  

     Two years earlier, Chinese hackers were accused of stealing secret plans for a supersonic anti-ship missile being developed for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI.  Chinese hackers have also been accused of stealing plans for America’s F-35 stealth fighter, based on documents leaked by rogue US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in 2015.  Both the Pentagon and jet builder Lockheed Martin Corp. said at the time that no classified information was lost during the breach.  

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