How does China spy on the United States?

How does China spy on the United States? < /p> UPDATE DAY

Last week's flight over the United States by a Chinese balloon, accused by Washington of being a spy device, raises questions about the intelligence gathering methods of America's great strategic rival.

< p>Spying on Beijing poses “the greatest long-term threat to our nation's data and intellectual property, as well as to our economic vitality”, alarmed in 2020 the director of the FBI (American federal police), Christopher Wray.

“The accusations of so-called 'Chinese espionage' are not based on factual evidence, but on misinformation and ulterior political purposes,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry told AFP.

< p>Here are the main US grievances against Beijing regarding espionage.


According to researchers and intelligence officials from Western countries, China has become adept at hacking into rival nations' computer systems to steal industrial and trade secrets.

The United States, their allies and NATO blamed the Chinese government in 2021 for a massive hacking of the computer giant Microsoft, to access emails and get their hands on confidential information of individuals and companies.

Chinese hackers are also believed to have acted in the United States against the Department of Energy, utilities, telecom companies and universities, according to Washington and news reports.

News technologies

Warnings are growing in the United States against the TikTok application and the risks its links with China pose to national security, according to its critics.

Some lawmakers fear that TikTok's parent company, the Chinese group ByteDance, could access the personal data of American users and ultimately pass it on to Chinese authorities.

Washington has also blacklisted the group Huawei, known for its mobile phones, but which also provides advanced equipment for networks and 5G.

Without providing evidence, the United States says it fears that these products serve as a backdoor to monitor communications and data traffic, which Huawei strongly denies.


Beijing relies on Chinese citizens overseas for intelligence and theft of sensitive technology, Washington claims.

One of the most high-profile cases is that of Chinese engineer Ji Chaoqun, arrived in 2013 on American soil with a student visa. Mr. Ji was sentenced last month in the United States to eight years in prison, for having provided Chinese intelligence services with information on American scientists who could potentially be recruited as sources of information.

In 2020, Wei Sun, a naturalized Chinese engineer working in defense for the Raytheon group, was also sentenced to prison, after taking a company computer to China containing sensitive information about an American missile system. .


To obtain first-hand information and promote its interests, Beijing would also court prominent political and economic figures.

In 2020, the American news site Axios claimed that a Chinese student had established links with a series of American politicians, on behalf of the Beijing intelligence services.

This student, Fang Fang, would have gained their trust by participating in fundraising for a campaign, by cultivating friendships and even sexual relations, asserted Axios.

Police stations

Apart from collecting intelligence, China has clandestine “police stations” in the United States and several countries, says the human rights organization Safeguard Defenders.

Undeclared, these structures are likely to monitoring or pressuring dissidents, according to the Madrid-based organization.

Beijing denies the accusations.

In November, the Netherlands ordered China to shut down two “police stations” on their territory.

A month later, Beijing closed two of these structures in Prague, according to Czech authorities.