The top American and British law enforcement officials made a rare joint appearance in London Wednesday to sound the alarm about the threat posed by Chinese spy rings, paying special attention to Beijing’s ongoing efforts to plunder Western intellectual property while using “elaborate shell games to disguise its efforts.”
“We consistently see that it’s the Chinese government that poses the biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security, and by ‘our,’ I mean both of our nations, along with our allies in Europe and elsewhere,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told a gathering of business leaders alongside MI5 Director-General Ken McCallum.
“The Chinese government is set on stealing your technology — whatever it is that makes your industry tick — and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market,” Wray went on. “And they’re set on using every tool at their disposal to do it.”
Beyond pilfering technology, Wray said Beijing is working to expand its influence internationally by interfering in elections and political systems, and warned that the Communist government’s hacking operation “is bigger than that of every other major country combined.”
McCallum warned that the Chinese government’s “covert pressure across the globe” represents “the most game-changing challenge we face.”
“This might feel abstract. But it’s real and it’s pressing,” he said. “We need to talk about it. We need to act.”
Addressing China’s aims toward Taiwan, Wray cautioned that Beijing may try to take over the island nation by force — which he said “would represent one of the most horrific business disruptions the world has ever seen.”
China considers Taiwan, which has a democratically elected government, as part of its territory and has long threatened to reunify the two countries.
Beijing responded on Thursday by claiming that the US was “the biggest threat to world peace, stability and development.”
“The relevant US politician has been playing up the so-called China threat to smear and attack China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters when asked about Wray’s comments.
“Facts have fully proven that the US is the biggest threat to world peace, stability and development,” he said. “We urge this US official to have the right perspective, see China’s developments in an objective and reasonable manner and stop spreading lies and stop making irresponsible remarks.”