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    HomeWorldNot Just Balloons: How US Sees China Spying as Major Worry

    Not Just Balloons: How US Sees China Spying as Major Worry

    Not Just Balloons: How US Sees China Spying as Major Worry

    — The Chinese balloon that traversed the United States before being shot down last weekend captivated public attention and drew sharp denunciations as a brazen spying effort.

    But if the vehicle for espionage seemed novel, the concept was anything but.

    In ways that are far less public, but often more worrisome, U.S. officials say, the Chinese government has been targeting U.S. industry and government agencies with spy operations designed to collect troves of commercial secrets and sensitive personal data — and to generally give the global superpower a competitive edge.

    It's been a constant concern for law enforcement and intelligence agencies across administrations.

    “There's a long history of spying on each other. There's a dance and a game that both sides do. In this particular instance, maybe the Chinese got their hands caught in the cookie jar,” said Bonnie Glaser, an expert and managing director of the German Marshall Fund's Indo-Pacific program.

    's not the only country the U.S. is concerned about, of course, but its efforts to penetrate American networks often seem more covert than noisy — in contrast, say, to the Russian hack-and-dump of Democratic emails before the 2016 presidential election. And its use of cyber spying to steal industry trade secrets, U.S. officials say, runs afoul of traditional espionage norms.

    A look at past Chinese operations:


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