China is ‘greatest threat’ to US, FBI director said

China is 'greatest threat' to US, FBI director said
FBI Director Christopher Wray China's government pose the "greatest long-term threat" to the future of the US. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The FBI director has said that theft and acts of espionage by China’s government pose the “greatest long-term threat” to the future of the US.

Christopher Wray described a multi-pronged disruption campaign while speaking to the Hudson Institute in Washington.

He said China had begun targeting Chinese nationals living abroad, coercing their return, and was working to compromise US coronavirus research.

Mr. Wray said, “The stakes could not be higher.”

He added that China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary.

The FBI Director outlined a stark picture of Chinese interference in a nearly hour-long speech on Tuesday, a far-reaching campaign of economic espionage, data and monetary theft and illegal political activities, using bribery and blackmail to influence US policy.

Mr Wray said: “We’ve now reached a point where the FBI is now opening a new China-related counterintelligence case every 10 hours.”

“Of the nearly 5,000 active counterintelligence cases currently underway across the country, almost half are related to China.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping had spearheaded a programme called “Fox Hunt”- as the FBI director said – geared at Chinese nationals living abroad seen as threats to the Chinese government.

“The Chinese government wants to force them to return to China, and China’s tactics to accomplish that are shocking.”

“When it couldn’t locate one Fox Hunt target, the Chinese government sent an emissary to visit the target’s family here in the United States. The message they said to pass on? The target had two options: return to China promptly, or commit suicide,” he continued.

Mr Wray asked Chinese nationals living in the US to contact with the FBI if Chinese officials target them seeking their return.

In the past, the Chinese government has defended this programme, saying it is part of a legitimate anti-corruption effort.

Mr Wray said the threat posed by China will be further addressed by the US attorney general and secretary of state in the coming weeks.

The address comes amid heightened tensions between China and the US.

US President Donald Trump has been highly critical about China amid the coronavirus outbreak. He repeatedly blamed the country for the global pandemic.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week that the US administration was looking at banning Chinese apps – including the hugely popular TikTok.

He said in an interview with Fox News that The apps “serve as appendages of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state”.