Obama on China’s Cyber Theft

Published on Author peaseley

In 2013 United States remains the world’s economic superpower, and China’s rapidly growing economy sits in second.  While China’s nominal GDP is still only about half of the United States’, its rapid growth sparks competition between the two nations for future economic dominance. Both countries have comparative advantages in different categories . Both labor and capital are key components to a country’s macro economy.  China has a far greater supply of labor(around four times as much) , and more financial capital, while the United States has more productive labor and more intellectual capital.

In recent months accusations have surfaced that China is using cyber attacks on American companies. These cyber attacks are of a much grander and more significant scale than domestic cyber attacks that we are use to. Their are widespread accusations that the Chinese government is supporting cyber attacks with the intention of stealing intellectual property, in order to close the gap between American and Chinese companies.

House Democrats,  Sander Levin of Michigan and Charles Rangel of New York, are pushing Obama to look closely into the issue and determine if the accustations are true, and further impose trade restrictions on China as a punishment if found guilty.

While it is beneficial to the entire world for China to develop into a first world nation, the United States government cannot allow China to do so at the expense of American companies. Trade restrictions are a start but if the government does not give more attention to the issue it could devastate the future of the American Economy.


4 Responses to Obama on China’s Cyber Theft

  1. President Obama signed a law this week that prohibits NASA, the Justice Department, and Commerce Department from buying IT systems from China without prior approval from federal officials. This is a small step towards combating cyber theft, but much more needs to be done. Congress and the President should condsider severe punishments for cyber spying/theft, including trade restrictions. Military retalition should not be ruled out if cyber spying continues after repeated warnings.


  2. The U.S. certainly needs to get on top of its cyber-security issues. While I would not use the word “devastate,” the theft of company secrets potentially puts the future competitive edge of U.S. businesses in jeopardy.

    In particular, according to a report published last spring by UCAL’s Institute of Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), China has been aiming at U.S. green energy secrets that have more recently come online. It is one area where the U.S. does not have an “insurmountable advantage” technologically, and as a result, China aims to capitalize.

    Unfortunately, the U.S. Federal Government faces a difficult challenge in attempting to coordinate and regulate international cyber security. I hope that the U.S. can figure out strategies to secure our nation’s cyber defenses.

  3. Given how…proliferate the US seems to be at cyberattacking everyone that it doesn’t like, I see no immediate issue. While we all like to pretend that we operate in a black/white environment, enforcing better cyber security through attrition may be necessary to ensure the continued robustness of the internet as a whole, given recent events.


  4. Finding an effective policy response is challenging. Generic measures against “China” do not readily translate into specific pressures on those involved, particularly if they are hiding behind the state security apparatus and so not very visible even to insiders in Beijing. Coming with data on who is doing what, and then finding narrow measures that exert leverage on those parties may not be possible, particularly if there’s no international business component that we can threaten. We also need to show that this is harmful, denial of service attacks that are big enough to hurt, data theft that actually matters. In the interim, we have to be careful that our position doesn’t morph into the position of US cyber security firms. What’s important for them (scaring up new business, with an emphasis on “scare”) is not necessarily important for us.