Tag Archives: PLA

We are at War and it is Time to Admit it


Everyday, every hour, this very minute perhaps, dark forces attempt to penetrate this castle’s walls, but in the end their greatest weapon . . . . is you.

– Albus Dumbledore



News stories of Chinese cyber-attacks against Western corporations, government offices and defense agencies are getting to be as routine as the ones that show Lindsey Lohan returning to rehab.

Last year, Google revealed that a Chinese hacker group, obviously under Communist Party control, had compromised the Internet giant’s servers, gained access to Chinese dissident’s email accounts and stolen the firm’s precious source code. Dubbed, “Operation Aurora” the attack also appears to have hit as many as 200 other major corporations – although virtually none of them have stood up to admit it. The year before, a sophisticated attack called “Ghost RAT” was shown to have infiltrated the Dali Lama’s Tibetan Government in exile along with several US agencies and foreign embassies.

Last week, CCTV, the Chinese government mouth piece let slip a video that showed Chinese cyber soldiers in the process of attacking a computer at the University of Alabama because it hosted a religious website (Falun Gong) that offends their communist sensibilities.

Last month, McAfee, a leading US based computer security software firm, released details of an investigation into an attack they call “Shady RAT.” McAfee engineers were even able to gain control of one of the hacker’s command and control servers and thereby identify the plot’s victims from the servers log files. This list points an unwavering finger at the despots in Beijing as well as offering much fodder for some creative speculation about the damage that it has caused in America.
The McAfee report, written by VP of Threat Research, Dmitri Alperovitch, revealed that at least 72 computer systems in the US, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, India and Canada were attacked over a five year period from 2006 through 2010. The targets include the usual high-tech companies, government agencies (Federal, State, and County), Asian democracy advocates, and defense contractors. However, this attack also infiltrated the systems of the United Nations, the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Secretariat, several national Olympic committees, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

As usual, the Chinese government denies everything, but it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out who spies on Taiwan, sabotages Democracy advocates, and cheats in the Olympics. If you don’t believe that the Chinese government was complicit here, then you probably also believe that the girls on their gymnastics team are really of age.

The cyber-assaults on China’s Olympic competitors were, of course, done before the 2008 Beijing games. While McAfee has politely anonymized the firms and agencies in their report other interesting conspiracies are suggested by matching the descriptions of the targets and the timing of the attacks to major news events.

My eye immediately caught one very tantalizing possibility. The logs show that a “U.S. Solar Power Energy Company” was compromised in September of 2009. Just two months later, on November 5, 2009, Evergreen Solar shocked the state of Massachusetts when it quite surprisingly announced the complete closure of its solar module production plant in Devans, MA. Incredulously, a brand new, $58 million facility, championed and supported by the state was to be mothballed and all production moved to Wuhan, China. 800 American workers lost their jobs. Since a manufacturing job typically supports four or more other jobs in the service and government sectors as many as 3,000 downstream families were probably devastated by Evergreen’s sudden relocation.

You’ve really gotta wonder just what on Earth provoked this abrupt decision. Sure, Evergreen’s CEO was eager to blame America when his firm rushed to embrace China’s huge subsidies, currency manipulation scheme, pollution-friendly environment and jackbooted control of labor; but what sort of reckless manager opens a factory and then closes it a year later? Had China’s Red Hacker Brigade simply discovered the perfect buyoff to lure Evergreen to Wuhan or did they uncover some scandalous corporate or personal data with which to black mail the firm? This is all pure speculation, but in keeping with the Chinese Communist Party’s people-be-damned approach to business and society.

Regardless of what happened with whichever unidentified “U.S. Solar Power Energy Company,” the fact remains that industrial espionage has material consequences and Alperovitch makes this chillingly clear when he writes:
What is happening to all this data — by now reaching petabytes as a whole — is still largely an open question. However, if even a fraction of it is used to build better competing products or beat a competitor at a key negotiation (due to having stolen the other team’s playbook), the loss represents a massive economic threat not just to individual companies and industries but to entire countries that face the prospect of decreased economic growth in a suddenly more competitive landscape and the loss of jobs in industries that lose out to unscrupulous competitors in another part of the world, not to mention the national security impact of the loss of sensitive intelligence or defense information.
Let there be no mistake, despite the lack of actual missiles and bombs we are at war with China – or more correctly China is at war with America – and the control freaks in Beijing are winning. This is not some massively multiplayer video game. This is an outright assault on the Western world and the US in particular with very real and incredibly devastating results for actual American families and the values we cherish. The question is simply, are we going to do anything about it?


Greg Autry is the co-author of Death by China. He teaches Macro Economics at the Merage School of Business, UC Irvine. He writes and speaks on China, space, economics, investing, and business strategy.

We have forgotten the lessons of Tiananmen


We have forgotten the lessons of Tiananmen



From the San Diego Union Tribune, June 16, 2011




Twenty-two years ago, millions of people gathered in public places across China to demand the respect of their government. As thousands jammed into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, one of us was there in the crowd as the other watched fascinated from the other side of the world. Unknown to each other at the time, we were connected by the common exhilaration of the moment as free people stood up to claim both their natural rights and a nation’s rightful place in the world order. It should have been a glorious moment as well as a new basis for a true partnership with China’s natural ally, the United States.

Of course, we all know what did happen that June 4. Though one of us was lucky enough to just miss the gunfire by returning to lead protests in Changsha and the other remained safely behind a television screen in America, we shared the horror, disgust and disillusionment of that day. We wept, shook our heads, cried out, “Why?” and reached the same, frankly obvious conclusion: The Chinese Communist Party is a murderous regime that couldn’t be trusted and America’s policy of engagement had failed.

History tells us that engagement with totalitarians has been a proven dead end since Napoleon used the 1801 Treaty of Amiens to consolidate his regime of fear and to prepare for war, and the lesson for democracies has been the same from Hitler to Gadhafi: Bad guys don’t change and they do not honor agreements.

Two decades of failure since have made clear that fake smiles aside, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are no different from the rest of history’s rogue’s gallery. It’s no surprise that China’s dictators continue to lie, cheat and steal their way through domestic politics, international affairs and business engagements.

What is surprising is that America’s business leaders, politicians and pundits continue to pander to this particular group of thugs against all reason. Decades after Tiananmen, we ask those Americans just how many artists, peacemakers and religious practitioners must China lock up before America opens its sleepy eyes? How many millions of women need be subjected to forced reproductive control? How many executions must there be? To what degree must China’s cities, rivers and seas be polluted by a perverted state capitalism that keeps Communists in power?

If human rights no longer carries weight with America’s free traders, then we ask how many American jobs need to be sacrificed to China’s blatantly manipulated currency, sad labor conditions and abuse of World Trade Organization rules? How many American firms need to be destroyed by intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, “partnership” requirements, tariffs and export restrictions? How badly do our most promising new companies, like Facebook and Google, have to be cheated by market-restricting censorship and government-backed cyber attacks?

Before he was oddly silenced, Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, commented to the Financial Times, “I really worry about China. I’m not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful.” Of course they don’t. Why would a government whose very name – “The People’s Republic” – is a lie and that uses its own constitution – which guarantees freedom of speech, religion, and assembly – as a doormat honor any partnership with your company or America – the embodiment of the principles it despises?

Finally, if you find repression and economic warfare an unwelcome distraction from consumption of cheap goods, please consider this before you fill your shopping cart: China is building a massive, high-tech military force that grows faster than its breakneck gross domestic product. A rising armada of naval power, missiles, stealth aircraft and space weaponry is aimed squarely at our allies in Asia, U.S. armed forces and the heartland of America. Is this the kind of regime we should be doing business with?

Over the years we have become very familiar with the argument that U.S. policy should remain forever frozen regardless of how outrageous Beijing’s behavior becomes, because any action in support of our principles would either prove futile or worse, resulting in economic retribution. The former argument may be true, but has not altered our approach toward China’s good friends in Iran, Zimbabwe or Sudan, while the latter simply makes it clear that we are falling into the Communist Party’s web of intimidation. That is exactly the reason we must make a stand sooner rather than later.


Autry is the co-author of “Death by China” and teaches macroeconomics at UC Irvine. Tang was a student leader in China in 1989, still works for Chinese democracy, and is the co-author of “My Two Chinas: The Memoirs of Chinese Counter-Revolutionary.”