Canada's security agency, CSIS, reported to Parliament that the Chinese are making a concerted effort to gather technology from Canadian sources,
including high tech companies, research labs and industrial concerns. They appear to use visiting students, scientists, and business people to obtain
information. The emphasis appears to be on technology useful in the military field.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
OTTAWA - China's intelligence services have systematically targeted Canada's science and technology sectors and use Chinese students and visiting
scientists to steal technology for military use and to enhance the country's global economic competitiveness, a senior intelligence source says.
In its annual report to Parliament, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service warns foreign spies are seeking to acquire ''Canada's scientific and
technological developments, critical economic and information infrastructure, military and other classified information, putting at risk Canada's
The official said CSIS was mainly referring to China in its 2003-04 report when the spy service discussed how ''certain foreign governments direct
their departments, state-owned corporations and intelligence services to engage in economic espionage against Canada.''
China uses visiting students, scientists, business people and delegations to obtain industrial secrets and high-technology that will benefit Chinese
companies and its military-industrial complex, said the source, who asked not to be identified for national security reasons.
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Industrial espionage has been a staple of communist regimes going back decades to the old Soviet Union. So, there is nothing really surprising about
this, except that CSIS went out of their way to emphasize it this year.
We can assume that if this is happening in Canada, it is almost certainly going on throughout the major industrial nations, including the US, Europe
and Japan, and it highlights the need to be cautious in dealing with Chinese entities and individuals. This is very difficult to do, given the numbers
of individuals of Chinese background who have emigrated and are legitimately involved in the technology field.
I wish also to note my own concern with the head-long rush of Western technology businesses to establish manufacturing and even Research and
Development facilities in China, especially given the utter lack of respect shown there for Intellectual Property rights such as patents and
copyrights. I know that some companies have a practice of withholding some of their key technologies for this reason.
However, on the whole, I believe our carelessness about protecting our technology is at best giving China a free ride to compete with our home-grown
industries, and at worst, allowing the potential, combined with their numbers, of an unparalled military juggernaut with unpredictable intentions.
Combined with growing financial capability and growing dependence of the West on Chinese manufacture, we could be in serious trouble in 10-20 years