Byline: David R. Sands, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Chinese industrial espionage represents the "greatest single threat" to U.S. technology, with U.S. counterintelligence agencies finding it hard to keep up, according to a new report from a congressional advisory panel issued yesterday.
The survey from the bipartisan U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission also found that China has backtracked in recent months on promised market-opening reforms and has increased state control over the press and the Internet.
While noting improved Chinese cooperation on such issues as North Korea, weapons proliferation and the environment, the report said the increased Chinese industrial spying and theft have helped Beijing modernize its armed forces at a rate that has taken U.S. government analysts by surprise.
"Chinese espionage, which now comprises the greatest single threat to U.S. technology, is straining the U.S. counterintelligence establishment," the report concluded. "This illicit activity significantly contributes to China's military modernization and acquisition of new capabilities."
The panel, formed in 2000 to advise Congress on economic and defense policy regarding China, recommended lawmakers review funding for U.S. counterintelligence programs to protect against cyber-attacks and industrial espionage from China.
Beijing has consistently denied spying on U.S. firms.
Saying China valued strong economic relations with the United States, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters at a Beijing briefing yesterday, "China never does anything to undermine the interests of other countries," according to the Associated Press.
Commission Chairman Carolyn Bartholomew said in a Capitol Hill briefing yesterday that the overall picture of U.S.-China relations was a "mixture of good news and bad. …