The director of the FBI has said that acts of espionage and theft by China’s government pose the “greatest long-term threat” to the future of the US.
The Hudson Institute in Washington, while in conversation with Christopher Wray, he described a multi-pronged disruption campaign.
According to him, China had begun targeting those Chinese public who are living abroad, coercing their return, and was working to compromise US coronavirus research.
“The stakes could not be higher,” Mr Wray said.
“China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary,” he added.
In an hour-long speech on Tuesday, the FBI director outlined a distinct picture of Chinese interference, a far-reaching campaign of economic espionage, data and monetary theft and illegal political activities, using blackmail to influence US policy.
“We’ve now reached a point where the FBI is now opening a new China-related counterintelligence case every 10 hours,” Mr Wray said. “Of the nearly 5,000 active counterintelligence cases currently under way across the country, almost half are related to China.”
The FBI director mentioned a programmed called “Fox Hunt”, which he said President Xi Jinping had “spearheaded” and he said was geared at Chinese nationals living abroad seen as threats to the Chinese government.
“We’re talking about political rivals, dissidents, and critics seeking to expose China’s extensive human rights violations,” he said. “The Chinese government wants to force them to return to China, and China’s tactics to accomplish that are shocking.”
“When it couldn’t locate one Fox Hunt target, the Chinese government sent an emissary to visit the target’s family here in the United States. The message they said to pass on? The target had two options: return to China promptly, or commit suicide.”
US President Donald Trump has been condemning China amid the corona virus outbreak, repeatedly blaming the country for the global pandemic. In another move, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week that the administration was looking at banning Chinese apps including the widely popular app, TikTok.