US accuses China of cyberspying

Five members of the Chinese military have been indicted by America on charges of stealing trade secrets.

The United States has indicted five members of the Chinese military on charges relating to stealing trade secrets. The information allegedly stolen includes both technical information and internal discussions about strategy and pricing, from firms including nuclear power plant company Westinghouse and solar panel maker Solar World.

The five people accused are based in China and highly unlikely to be extradited to face trial, since China responded by calling the claims "ridiculous". It also said that this represented "double standards" and that China has also been "victims of US cyber surveillance and theft".

What the commentators said

In contrast, "Beijing uses it mainly to help Chinese companies, many of them state-owned, gain access to valuable intellectual property". They then use this information "to climb the value chain as China modernises its economy".

But the line between spying for national security and industrial espionage is often blurred, said David Sanger of The New York Times. "While the NSA cannot spy on Airbus and give the results to Boeing", it can "spy on European or Asian trade negotiators and use the results to help American trade officials".

Indeed, "state-run oil companies are a fascination to the NSA, just as American high-tech firms are a Chinese obsession". The only reason why the NSA doesn't share information with US firms is that "unlike the Chinese, they would not know which companies to help".

Still, while China's espionage "might make sense in the short term", a strategy of "aggressively mixing espionage with commerce is doomed", concluded Bloomberg View. After all, "it's going to have to convince international customers, not to mention foreign regulators, that their products aren't being bugged".

China also needs to realise that "its own companies will face digital intrusions as they become global powers". This means that "helping to build an international consensus about the rules of the game now will help ensure that such disputes don't escalate dangerously".

Recommended

Governments will sink in a world drowning in debt
Global Economy

Governments will sink in a world drowning in debt

Rising interest rates and soaring inflation will leave many governments with unsustainable debts. Get set for a wave of sovereign defaults, says Jonat…
23 Jun 2022
The MoneyWeek Podcast with Dylan Grice
Investment strategy

The MoneyWeek Podcast with Dylan Grice

Merryn talks to Dylan Grice of Calderwood Capital about how central bankers are the problem, not the solution; how bitcoin can counter the increasing …
23 Jun 2022
Central banks are on course for recession
Global Economy

Central banks are on course for recession

The world’s central banks have found themselves behind the curve on inflation. Acting to tame it now runs the risk of sparking a recession.
23 Jun 2022
The age of delusions is ending – but what will replace it?
Sponsored

The age of delusions is ending – but what will replace it?

For years, we have been living in an “age of delusion”, says Max King. The return to normality will be painful, but a dose of reality might be a very …
21 Jun 2022

Most Popular

The ten investment trusts with the highest dividend yields
Investment trusts

The ten investment trusts with the highest dividend yields

Investment trusts are one of the best ways to participate in the stockmarket, and the way they are structured means they can maintain their dividends …
23 Jun 2022
Governments will sink in a world drowning in debt
Global Economy

Governments will sink in a world drowning in debt

Rising interest rates and soaring inflation will leave many governments with unsustainable debts. Get set for a wave of sovereign defaults, says Jonat…
23 Jun 2022
Why a recession will do us good
UK Economy

Why a recession will do us good

A period of slimming down is always painful, but it leaves us healthier for the long run, says Matthew Lynn.
26 Jun 2022