Early in my Army career, I served as a foreign area officer in Asia focused on China and have spent the succeeding years in intelligence. Right away in my journey as a career military intelligence officer, I came to have great respect for Chinese discipline. They work hard; they sacrifice. What a large number of Chinese leaders, engineers and academics also do quite well is identify and adopt others’ good ideas. They reverse engineer what they have stolen including copying weapon designs for C-17, F-22, and F-35 planes and the Predator drone. They are masters of “hiding in plain sight.”
In 1999, two Chinese colonels published “Unrestricted Warfare,” a seminal piece that described in precise detail how China could assert dominance in competition with Western powers by using all means of warfare without limitations. America’s problem then was it did not see these other means of warfare for what they could become or how they could be employed.
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Major Gen. (Ret.) James "Spider" Marks , September 12, 2019
China intentionally blurs the lines between public and private enterprises, to ensure that the nation’s military, espionage, and commercial interests are intertwined. This takes shape with massive investments in state-owned enterprises, state-sanctioned hacking, and cyberwarfare. Everything in China, from diplomacy, economics, military development, and information, is used in concert to achieve Communist Party objectives. For example, China’s 2017 National Intelligence law mandates information sharing between “private” businesses and intelligence agencies, even for Chinese businesses operating in other countries. Additionally, numerous individuals working for or with state-owned enterprises have been indicted for espionage by the U.S. Justice Department, highlighting the close link between Chinese businesses and the government. There are ongoing concerns about certain Chinese graduate students and academics in U.S. schools, who can act as “non-traditional collectors (of intelligence), especially in the academic setting,” according to FBI director Christopher Wray.