On Wednesday, the heads of the FBI and MI5 in the United Kingdom joined together to warn company executives about Chinese Communist Party espionage undermining Western economics and national security.
MI5 Director-General Ken McCallum and FBI Director Christopher Wray warned global-leading technology, commercial business owners, and research about the long-term risk to Western investments’ economic and national security from China’s regime. They stressed, however, that Chinese citizens—both at home and abroad—are also victims of their own government.
“I’ll start by describing the threat in simple terms,” Wray added. “The Chinese government is hell-bent on stealing your technological know-how and using it to undermine your industry and dominate your market.”
“They’re determined to do it with whatever tools are available,” he added.
McCallum and other lawmakers stressed the need for leaders to take action while the CCP covertly applies pressure internationally.
“By volume, the majority of what is vulnerable to Chinese Communist Party aggression isn’t, as they say, ‘mine,’” he added. “It’s yours — and everyone like you.”
According to Wray, the CCP employs “co-optees,” who are familiar with intelligence techniques, have knowledge of how to recruit sources, and steal commercial secrets from enterprises all over the world.
“We’ve even caught individuals linked to Chinese businesses in the heartland of America, digging up proprietary, genetically modified seeds, that would have taken them almost a decade and billions of dollars in research to create,” he added.
According to Wray, CCP agents employ cyber warfare, cheating, and thievery on a huge scale.
Last year, Microsoft said that Chinese government-backed hackers had planted over 10,000 backdoors on U.S. networks, allowing them to gain access to data.
A Chinese government spokesperson, Liu Pengyu, denied the “baseless” claims from MI5 and the FBI to the Associated Press, stating that China “firmly disagrees and combats all types of cyber assaults.”
“We will never, in any way, encourage, support, or authorize cyber assaults,” the release said.
FBI and MI5 leaders, on the other hand, disagree.
The FBI director claimed that valuable technology is being stolen from American companies right through the front door by the Chinese government. MI5’s General McCallum said CCP agents “slowly” build relationships in order to gain commercially unavailable information and use it to serve national interests.
“These methods are used to create a debt of obligation on the part of the victim, who will find it difficult to refuse subsequent demands for services,” McCallum added.
Wray warned against doing business with Chinese firms because the Communist Party controls them.
“You should know that when you deal with a Chinese firm, you’re also dealing with China’s government,” he stressed.