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Chinese Kleptocracy Extends to Emigrants

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Chinese Kleptocracy Extends to Emigrants

chinese girl with phone

China’s illicit and aggressive pursuit of foreign tech and know-how has made it the world’s most prolific nation-thief. On a yearly basis, China steals more money in technology than most countries produce. In a world where nothing can be nailed down, China seems bent on heisting everything. Most recently they have decided to steal food secrets from the heartland.

In order to achieve their goal of global hegemony, China has enlisted the help of Chinese immigrants to steal secrets from their new home and send the info back to the motherland. In what appears to be a growing trend, Chinese green cardholders are betraying America and its companies. The question is why so many Chinese would flock to the US and then steal our secrets and ship them back home.


According to NPR, recently federal indictments were handed down on cases involving theft of trade secrets by Chinese living in the USA. The cases involved theft of profitable hybrid corn and rice. The first case involved a Chinese man who was first caught foraging around in the Tama, Iowa dirt. This man, Mo Hailong, then celebrated his citizenship by scouring farmland across the Midwest for prized corn seedlings. He allegedly was doing this at the behest of the Chinese company – Kings Nower Seed. A cross country FBI trek nailed Mo in the act.

The second instance was related to genetically altered rice. In this case, at least six Chinese were accused of stealing prized rice which was produced in the USA. The people in question were caught handing over such secrets to comrades in arms from the PRC. In this case, the perpetrators were allegedly trying to curry favor with companies back in their motherland in hope of returning home and or making a quick buck.

China Hijacking US Innovations

The question is why so many Chinese have been in the spotlight lately for nicking US innovation. The answer is that in the eyes of Beijing and many Chinese, the United States is public enemy number one. And, before you accuse this article of yellow journalism, look at the facts.

“63 percent of the Chinese public see the U.S. as the biggest threat to their country, with 81 percent of business elites saying that. Coming in a distant second as a threat was Japan.” Business Week

The vast majority of Chinese see the US as the greatest threat to their country. This is little wonder when you consider that over 80% of all the communist leaders think the same way. In a country where the leadership controls through paranoia, it makes sense to create a “boogey man”. What better country than the USA, the current leader of the pack? In a country like China where all media serves the communist party and not even the state, molding attitudes is easy to do. As a result, Chinese actions against the US make sense.

Communist China’s Reliance on Foreign Know-How

The People’s Republic of China was formed in 1949 and Mao wasted little time in ridding his regime of intellectuals. His purges were famous, most notably in the late 1950’s. The communist party systematically jailed, estranged and/or killed China’s most educated people and in their stead put poorly educated peasants. What these people lacked in expertise, they made up for in revolutionary zeal. Unfortunately, this zeal did not translate into much in the way of innovation or technological advancement.

By the time Beijing was figuring out how to best pickle Mao’s tepid corpse, China was a mess. The “sick man of Asia” had fallen so far behind it was laughable. Mao’s prolonged attack on the intellectual elite had so damaged the country and system so severely that it could not save itself.

i love china

Go West Young Man!

In order to catch up, China eyed the west and their ideas. The three principal ways they sought to catch up was by leveraging idea/IP theft, overseas Chinese and overseas Chinese students.

One of the reasons so many Chinese speak English is that Beijing made English learning a priority. The reason was to cull useful trade secrets from the West, specifically the USA and England (Chinese Industrial Espionage, William C. Hannas et al- in general). The reason was that even before the communist party took over, China was technologically awkward. They had relied on the Japanese to industrialize the northeast and Russian know-how for large scale projects.

China was incapable of doing such things by itself. In order to overcome the deficit, Beijing would scour open source materials and copy the best practices from the English speaking world. The other component of this strategy was to “borrow” tech from the West xxx which has been well documented here and here. xxxx

Aside from this, China tapped into overseas Chinese, aka people of Chinese ethnicity. If you have any Chinese blood, the PRC considers you one of their own. As a matter of fact, citizenship was granted to all ethnic Chinese, irrespective of their country of origin, until the middle of last century. This citizenship “benefit” comes at a cost, however, Beijing does ask for help in the form of stealing foreign secrets.

The phenomenon is highlighted in the book Chinese Industrial Espionage by William Hannas et al. It describes how Beijing leans on ethnic Chinese to help out the motherland. The party coerces, cajoles and even threatens people to assist China as much as possible. They maintain that such assistance is a matter of national security and the only way to keep the PRC from ruin. Even people from Taiwan are not exempt from the long arm of Beijing.

The play is to create the image of a sympathetic China in need of a helping hand. America is portrayed as a hegemony overflowing with riches, and China is the victim. In order to help China maintain its dignity and statehood, a little assistance is asked for. A stolen formula here, corn seeds there and blue prints for our most coveted nuclear secrets are little to ask if it helps the motherland. As the NPR cases show, there seem to be many answering the call.

rice seeds

Chinese Students as Agro Spies?

The last leg of the stool is Chinese studying abroad. Before they leave, they are prepped in how best to keep an eye out for exceptional ideas and then promised that riches await if they can successfully bring those ideas back home. As detailed both here and in the Hannas book, this play involves quite a bit of misdirection.

Such students win the confidence of university professors and their labs and then secret the tech away. They then return to China and create mirror images of the American product. Beijing then erects barriers to trade which protect the “Chinese” product. Prime examples of this would be how, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter, among others, are all blocked in China. None of these can be accessed. In their place are Chinese clones, which do not have to compete with better foreign products. Beijing ensures the success of these companies by barring foreign competition.

Game changing technologies can be banned in China so that a local knockoff gains market share. This protectionism is a fundamental part of China’s war on foreign know-how.

The case of the agro-thieves merely is a symptom of a much larger disease. China has declared war on the USA on many fronts. What is ours is theirs and what is theirs is theirs and they will do whatever it takes to keep things that way.

Most immigrants just want a better life in a new country, but Beijing makes it hard. By convincing them that America is out to destroy their homeland, Beijing is able to play them like a fiddle. As a result, such acts merely serve to help one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet to maintain its control.

The importance of this case is that Beijing is becoming increasingly hostile to American interests. They have declared war on our companies in China, riddled our corporate networks with spyware and theft and are now establishing a beachhead in the homeland.

The fact is that as America has opened its doors to China, it is losing its leadership role in innovation and technology. This has been ameliorated by American openness and lack of knowledge. China views us as the enemy and is acting accordingly, perhaps it is time we reconsider our own position with Beijing.

Image Credits:
(1) foreverdigital via photopin cc
(2) parhessiastes via Compfight cc
(3) IRRI Images via photopin cc

Originally published on

  • Guest

    Having just found your website it seems you have quite an anti-Chinese bias. So many stories blasting the Chinese… disturbing.

  • I’d say that’s a fair analysis. What you misunderstand is that we are pro-Chinese people. We are anti-Chinese government.

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