Trump meme: Underreported FBI campaign shows China major actor in economic spying

Five Chinese military hackers

Five Chinese military hackers have been charged with cyber-espionage against the United States. (FBI Most Wanted poster)

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has repeated his concerns about China frequently, and comics like to use it as a meme. Comics, however, aren’t known for their political acumen.  Trump’s concern is substantiated in part by an underreported FBI campaign complete with details splashed across the agency’s website. 

The campaign aims to increase awareness about economic spies in the US, and the film The Company Man is a centerpiece in the campaign. The film is based on a true story about a US company with a unique insulating product the Chinese government allegedly had an interest in manufacturing. In the film, an FBI agent tells an officer of the targeted US company:

“The [China] government has recently enacted some tough new commercial building regulations, and yours is one of the few insulating materials that meets the requirements for insulation and fire retardency.”

China would obviously prefer such materials be manufactured domestically instead of having to import them.

The agency lists seven cases brought to light during the Obama administration’s tenure. Only one involved an enterprise not related to interests in The People’s Republic of China. It is virtually impossible to separate China’s government from industry

The Company Man film FBI

‘The Company Man: Protecting America’s Secrets’ film is part of a nationwide FBI campaign to raise awareness of the economic espionage threat. The film is based on a true story.

China is a communist state, and although some media suggest the country has loosened control over the economy, the state still holds sizable control over means of production and profits. Regarding personal liberty, China has no parallels to Western-style freedoms effected via constitutional limits on government control over gun ownership, speech, the right to assembly, and rights to worship.

Among the seven cases listed in a sidebar on the FBI’s website are several cases related to theft of US defense technology, involving companies like E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company.

The FBI also detailed charges against five military hackers who targeted Westinghouse and other US companies. The agency noted this case is “the first time criminal charges have been filed against known state actors for hacking.”

Most major media have given little attention to espionage, although it is a significant factor in breaches in industry and it costs the US economy billions of dollars.

When former president Bill Clinton (D) promoted opening trade with China, former president George H. W. Bush (R) had promoted it too. Clinton sealed the deal, however, and as media have reported, many of the benefits promised the United States did not manifest.

Under President Barack Obama, the US trade deficit with China reached its highest point ever in May, 2015.

Since former president George W. Bush left office, China’s economy has topped that of the United States. The CIA World Fact Book said, “China in 2014 stood as the largest economy in the world, surpassing the US for the first time in modern history…”

China also stands to benefit from Obama’s global warming policy because China has managed to maintain status as a “developing country,” and China has been critical of the United States from a standpoint purely based on carbon emissions. Obama and his fellow Democrats’ policies on what they politically label as “climate change” will give China yet another edge and it will disadvantage the United States.

Trump may well harp on China as a challenge to the United States, but facts suggest he has good cause to do so. Libertarians often tout free trade as a plus with no negatives, but truly free trade is virtually impossible with a communist country controlling production, distribution, and trade of goods and services.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Sept. 14, 2015)


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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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