Fri, Nov 21, 2008 - Page 1 News List

US congressional panel warns of Chinese espionage


A congressional advisory panel said yesterday that China had stepped-up computer espionage attacks on the US government, defense contractors and businesses.

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission also said in its annual report to lawmakers that aggressive Chinese space programs were allowing Beijing to target US military forces better.

“China is stealing vast amounts of sensitive information from US computer networks,” said Larry Wortzel, chairman of the commission set up by Congress in 2000 to advise, investigate and report on US-China issues.

The commission of six Democrats and six Republicans said in the unanimously approved report that China's massive military modernization and its “impressive but disturbing” space and computer warfare capabilities “suggest China is intent on expanding its sphere of control even at the expense of its Asian neighbors and the United States.”

The commission recommended that lawmakers provide money for US government programs that would monitor and protect computer networks.

Messages left with the Chinese embassy in Washington were not immediately returned. But officials in Beijing have responded to past reports by saying China does not try to undermine other countries' interests and seeks healthy ties with the US.

The report comes two months before US president-elect Barack Obama takes office. The Democratic Obama administration probably will continue the Republican George W. Bush administration's efforts to work with and encourage China, a veto-holding member of the UN Security Council that the US needs in nuclear confrontations with Iran and North Korea.

During the campaign for president, then-candidate Obama said that “China is rising, and it's not going away,” adding that Beijing is “neither our enemy nor our friend; they're competitors.”

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