Washington DC, Jul 8 (efe-epa).- Acts of espionage and theft of information by the Chinese government pose the greatest long-term threat to the United States’ future, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday.
In a speech at the Hudson Institute, a well-known Washington-based think tank, FBI Director Christopher Wray analyzed US-China relations, which are at a low point both politically and commercially.
“The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality, is the counterintelligence and economic espionage threat from China,” Wray said. “It’s a threat to our economic security – and by extension, to our national security.”
“We’ve now reached the point where the FBI is opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours. Of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases currently underway across the country, almost half are related to China,” he added.
“And at this very moment, China is working to compromise American health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and academic institutions conducting essential COVID-19 research.”
In a nearly hour-long talk, the FBI director alleged a far-reaching campaign being orchestrated by Beijing of economic espionage, data and monetary theft, and illegal political activities, as well as bribery and blackmail to influence US policy.
According to Wray, Chinese President Xi Jinping has since 2014 spearheaded a program called “Fox Hunt,” which is aimed at targeting Chinese nationals living abroad, whom he views as threats.
“We’re talking about political rivals, dissidents, and critics seeking to expose China’s extensive human rights violations,” Wray said. “The Chinese government wants to force them to return to China, and China’s tactics to accomplish that are shocking.”
“China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary,” the FBI director added.
Wray alleged that China uses a “diverse range of sophisticated techniques” and has “pioneered an expansive approach to stealing innovation through a wide range of actors – including not just Chinese intelligence services but state-owned enterprises.”
“China often steals American intellectual property and then uses it to compete against the very American companies it victimized – in effect, cheating twice over. They’re targeting research on everything from military equipment to wind turbines to rice and corn seeds,” he said. EFE-EPA