China Beat Archive



Sam Goffman

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July 28, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright July 28, 2009 Sam Goffman. Used by permission.


The fact that China and the US spy on each other should come as no surprise to anybody. Each country is nervous about the other, and espionage, though it is surely not conducted with the same vigor as during the Cold War, is still an important part of interactions between states.

What’s interesting about Chinese espionage operations in the US, however, is that they appear to involve strong racial and nationalist overtones. The Soviet Union tended to appeal to ideology, or simply offer money or other types of benefits to its agents; China, it seems, is mainly going after overseas Chinese communities in its efforts to recruit spies.

In the latest example, Dongfan “Greg” Chung, a Boeing employee who had been with the company for 30 years, was convicted two weeks ago for passing numerous sensitive documents to the Chinese government. The judge in the case proclaimed, “The trust Boeing placed in Mr. Chung to safeguard its proprietary and trade secret information obviously meant very little to Mr. Chung. He cast it aside to serve the PRC, which he proudly proclaimed as his ‘motherland.’” Afterwards, a think tank analyst told the New York Times, “The Chinese communist government is seeking to divide the loyalties of Chinese-Americans. By defending ourselves in this way, asserting our sovereignty, we are making clear to all those who would be turned by nationalist appeals from China’s communist government that there is price to pay.”