China has long attempted to defuse concerns that the United States has about China’s military buildup, particularly the “China Threat Theory.” On February 8, 2008, Xinhua commented on the January 29, 2008, U.S. Congressional hearing held by the Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Judiciary Subcommittee, on the issue of espionage and cyber-crime. The following is a translation of the full text of the Xinhua article written by the U.S. correspondent of Global Times, a newspaper under Xinhua.
On January 29, 2008 the Crime Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Congress held a hearing in which U. S. counter-intelligence officers briefed Congressmen on China’s “rampant espionage activities.” After the hearing a Congressman claimed, “China’s espionage activities have become the number one threat to the United States.” In fact, in many cases last year, Western media, organizations and individuals made allegations about China espionage theory and the China hackers theory, with no evidence whatsoever. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly refuted these allegations. The content of this Congressional hearing is “the same old tune." It is nothing new at all compared to what was alleged in the past.
Claiming China Is Stepping up Military Espionage
The conservative Washington Times reported on January 30 that the Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Judiciary Subcommittee of the U.S. House held a hearing to discuss whether existing law is sufficient to deal with foreign espionage, but the hearing ultimately focused on China’s "espionage activities" against the United States.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the U. S. Department of Justice, Patrick Rowan states that both China and Iran are stepping espionage on military technology. “Of great concern recently is the substantial and growing national security threat posed by illegal foreign acquisition of restricted U.S. military technology. China and Iran pose particular U.S. export-control concerns."
Rowan said that spying today includes traditional Cold-War-style espionage as well as sophisticated operations to gather trade secrets and export-controlled military technology. “Recent prosecutions have highlighted illegal exports of stealth missile technology, military aircraft components, naval warship data, night-vision equipment and other restricted technology destined for those countries."
"China’s Espionage Is The Biggest Threat To The United States."
Larry Wortzel, a former military counterintelligence officer and current chairman of the Congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, testified, “China is acquiring or shamelessly using stolen technology to rapidly produce new and lethal high-technology weapons. This significantly contributes to China’s military modernization and development of new capabilities,"
Wortzel said that after a year of hearings and research, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission concluded that China’s espionage activities strain the U.S. counterintelligence resources and have become the greatest threat to the United States. He said that China’s cyber-spying and computer attacks are major worries, that the U.S. government and private sector networks are targets, and that counterespionage services are "overwhelmed" in trying to counter the threat.
After the hearing, Rep. Randy Forbes said, "China has now become the biggest espionage threat to the United States." “It is a real problem that is costing us a lot of dollars and potentially puts our soldiers at risk down the road." Wortzel and Forbes called for further efforts to step up the U.S. counter-intelligence against China.
Chinese Experts: No need to Pay Attention to Such Speculation
The U.S. correspondent of Global Times noticed that since "China’s espionage threat" has become the subject that the U.S. right-wing often speculates about, the hearing did not draw too much mainstream media attention in the United States, and only The Washington Times and the World Journal (U.S. edition) have reported it.
Ni Feng, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies under the China Academy of Social Sciences told the Global Times correspondent in an interview that there was no need too be concerned about The Washington Times report. The newspaper primarily reflects right-wing positions. The authenticity of its reports has always been questioned by outside world. The American journalist Bill Gertz who wrote this article is also an anti-China figure.
Ni Feng holds that The Washington Times does not have much influence in the United States and often attracts eyeballs by attacking China. The best way to deal with it is to ignore the report. At present, people in the United States are more concerned about the presidential election, the situation in Pakistan, the situation in Iraq, and the Korean and Iranian nuclear issue. Anti-China voices do not get much special attention. Other academia has also noted that the true purpose of U. S. intelligence in exaggerating the "China espionage threat" is to get a larger Congressional budget.
 Xinhua, February 8, 2008