In This Review

Chinese Industrial Espionage: Technology Acquisition and Military Modernization
Chinese Industrial Espionage: Technology Acquisition and Military Modernization
By William C. Hannas, James Charles Mulvenon, and Anna B. Pugli
320 pp, Routledge, 2013

This book rings alarm bells about technology theft on a scale that the authors say is unprecedented in history and that they believe has strategic implications. They claim that the U.S. government (for which two of the authors work) has underestimated the severity of the threat from China, prompting them to go public with a brief based entirely on open sources. Traditional espionage and hacking are only the most sensational techniques the Chinese authorities use to obtain proprietary information and technology. The others include employing a vast bureaucracy dedicated to collecting open-source material, demanding technology transfers from foreign investors in exchange for access to the Chinese market, participating in academic exchanges, and tapping ethnic Chinese professional and alumni associations in the West for intelligence. Innocent-sounding rhetoric about development and scholarship surrounds many of these activities, and many of the collection methods are legal. But the authors show that these intelligence and espionage activities constitute a strategic initiative guided from high levels of the Chinese government. They push back against what they anticipate will be charges of alarmism (and even racism) and argue that, so far, U.S. counterintelligence operations have been outmanned and outclassed.