A Typology of China's Intellectual Property Theft Techniques
After decades of ignoring the problem, the United States and its allies now comprehend the national security, economic, and political consequences of the torrent of intellectual property (IP) that the People's Republic of China (PRC) diverts from foreign private companies. However, democratic governments are not and can never be fully equipped to protect millions of their private firms, especially without assistance from the private sector itself. Governments spend significant resources protecting state secrets, but governments and private firms spend almost nothing protecting sensitive, valuable private sector information. Private companies still do not understand the nature, scale, variety or consequences of the commercial espionage threat. And government does little to assist them...
China's Counter-Espionage Law:
How Foreign Entities Can "De-Risk" China Exposure
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) introduced revisions to its counter-espionage law in April 2023 with the intention of broadening its definition of “national security.”¹ The amended law codifies the CCP’s increasing emphasis on a “holistic view” of national security (总体国家安全观), which considers potential security threats as emanating from an expansive range of different areas across the military, business, journalism, academia, and nonprofit sectors.² This, combined with the law’s definitional vagueness about what counts as “national security” and sweeping enforcement powers to punish offenders, means that the CCP has effectively crafted legal grounds on which it can prosecute any individual or entity that it deems as not aligning fully with the party’s interests.³ While the CCP maintains that it has possessed these capabilities since first passing the law in 2014—aided by further passage of implementation rules in 2017⁴ and Provisions on Counter-espionage Security Precautions in 2021—the amended law aims to legalize these efforts and potentially extend them overseas to include all Chinese citizens or even non-citizens of Chinese heritage living outside of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Big Tech Connections to the PRC Government
An OSINT and CSINT analysis in response to the following question:
Using open source information, is it possible to show direct, observable connections between China’s big tech firms and the PRC government?
Using the 2430 Group model of aligning questions/projects with our most capable partner for the task at hand, 2430 Group selected Govini and their National Security Knowledge Graph (NSKG) to analyze Alibaba and determine if any direct lines to the PRC are observable in OSINT/CSINT sources.
2430 Group experts guided Govini’s analysts through a detailed review of Alibaba’s key management personnel (KMPs) and the mapping of Alibaba’s partnerships, subsidiaries, and joint ventures. This analysis uncovered numerous direct fiduciary and controlling ties between Alibaba and majority Chinese State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).