The Threat of Chinese Espionage on the US

The latest report indicating that a Pentagon Official, Gregg William Bergersen has been handing highly classified National Defense information to Chinese operatives in the US comes at a time when there is a growing concern on Chinese Espionages in the United States. This follows an earlier report which indicated that Dongfan Chung, a former Boeing engineer, born in China, gaining US citizenship through naturalization, was stealing sensitive information and trade secrets, including data on the US space shuttle, and handing them over to Chinese officials stationed in Beijing.

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According to a congress report on Chinese Espionage published late last month, “Chinese espionage activities in the United States are so extensive that they comprise the single greatest risk to the security of American technologies.” As such, these issues must be addressed as a matter of urgency and a viable solution put in place to counteract these threats which give China upper leverage.

Chinese authorities are very good at using multiple platforms to collect secret information. Students, visitors, delegation, researchers, business deals, partnerships, and false companies are some of the platforms used by the Chinese to collect secret information. A pointing case is where a Washington State University professor and a celebrated human activist, Gao Zhan, has been convicted and put behind bars for selling the US-owned microprocessors and technology that could be used in missiles.

Besides using individuals to gather information, Chinese hackers have devised a way of breaking into US military computer systems through the internet to steal data, gather intelligence, and understand how the US government chain of communication works. A point case took place in June 2007, when China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) successfully cracked the security codes of US Defense Secretary, Robert Gates’s computer system.

Chinese Espionage in the United States is not limited to the defense and military system. The continued direct production partnership and commercial transfer by Chinese companies in the United States are aimed at supplementing China’s acquisition of new technologies. According to the congress report, “what the Chinese government cannot get through licit means, they are conducting an aggressive program of industrial espionage to acquire”

The threat posed by China Espionage on the US is so high and as such, the United States authority will have to come up with a solution aimed at solving the problem without further hurting the strained relationship between China and the US. Outsourcing of technology has been one of the root causes of Chinese Espionage in China. Vital technological parts obtained from China make the Chinese authority eager to know where they fit in US innovation. As such, the US should reconsider its decision to outsource hi-tech technological parts from China.

Strict vetting backed by thorough background checks on individuals seeking employment to sensitive US governments departments and companies must be taken a notch higher.

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Operatives found in the US gathering secret information for China must face stiffer penalties and jail terms to deter other individuals from participating in Espionage in US. The US government must also continue to put Chinese authority on notice and pressure them to back down from using crooked means for technological advancement.


Avery Goldstein (2005) Rising to the Challenge: Chinese Espionage on US, Stanford University Press, California.

Charges on Espionage cases, Web.

Economic Espionage, Web.

Espionage listing, Web.

Former Pentagon Official Pleads Guilty in China Spy Case, Web.

Jeremy Reimer (2007) Chinese Conduct aggressive and large scale espionage against United States, Web.

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J. Randy Forbes, (2008) Chinese espionage, Web.

Judson Knight, Chinese Espionage against the United States, Web.

Michael Bowman (2008) 4 arrested in Chinese Espionage, Web.

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural resources (1999) Chinese Espionage report, US Government Publisher, United States.

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