China’s Reorientation

Chinese hackers were blamed for breaking into the computer networks of the U.S. government personnel office in June and stealing identifying information of at least 4 million federal workers.

The personal information could be used to target government workers with access to sensitive information.

In another attack reported by the NSA, Chinese hackers broke into emails of top national security and trade officials. Some of the information allowed them to steal the email addresses of officials’ contacts and use them to send out malware attacks.

When not dealing with her own email issues, Hillary Clinton had some harsh words for China. “They’re also trying to hack into everything that doesn’t move in America. Stealing commercial secrets, blueprints from defense contractors, stealing huge amounts of government information. All looking for an advantage.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Beijing (do they have ranches in China?), the Chinese government is cracking down on ­cybersecurity. The National People’s Congress, the country’s highest legislative body, proposed an internet security law that would strengthen protection of private information, ban hacking activities and also allow authorities to restrict internet access to maintain public order.

The new law was proposed because China’s government considers cybersecurity to be crucial to national security, and espouses the concept of internet sovereignty, treating its portion of cyberspace as its territory.

They ought to know.

Cyberattacks grab the most headlines. But what do people really care about? The 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square is ancient history. Might as well talk about the Ming Dynasty.

What really concerns Americans about China?

China’s economic muscle remains a more serious concern for Americans than security threats posed by cyberattacks and the Asian nation’s growing military, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The survey by the Pew Research Center was released in advance of a high-profile U.S. state visit by China’s President Xi Jinping. Apparently, the meeting was planned to smooth over differences between the U.S. and China over hacking allegations and China’s increasing assertiveness in making territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The poll finds that 54 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of China, and that negative views run much higher among Republicans than Democrats. But overall, eight out of 10 Americans see serious problems with China on key economic, security and social issues.

What concerns Americans most is the $1.27 trillion in U.S. debt held by China and the loss of U.S. jobs to China. Next come cyberattacks, China’s policies on human rights, the U.S. trade deficit with China, China’s impact on the global environment, and its growing military power.

The poll was based on 1,003 telephone interviews in the U.S. between April 13 and May 3. The margin of error was 3.6 percentage points.

The survey was conducted before the revelations in June that millions of U.S. federal personnel records had been hacked; but after the NSA Threat Operations Center (NTOC) reported more than 600 U.S. businesses and institutions were breached during that period in the previous five years.

The polling also preceded the recent turmoil in China’s stock market that rattled global markets, amid growing uncertainty over whether the communist government can manage reforms of the world’s second-largest economy after three decades of rapid growth.

Contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential contest have already been talking tough on China, and the survey found that Republicans are significantly more concerned about threats from China than Democrats, notwithstanding Mrs. Clinton’s tongue-lashing of China.

Some 77 percent of Republicans regarded Chinese-held debt as a very serious problem, compared with 60 percent of Democrats. Sixty-five percent of Republicans saw cyberattacks from China as a very serious problem, compared with 49 percent of Democrats.

However, the overall percentage of respondents describing debt, jobs and the trade deficit with China as very serious concerns has declined significantly since a Pew poll last posed those questions in 2012. The unfavorable view of China has remained constant in the past three years.

Those unfavorable ratings are less pronounced among the young. Just 39 percent of respondents under 30 have a negative opinion of China, compared with 64 percent of those aged 50 and older.

You’d expect that the most vehement negative opinions of China would come from its victims. Especially Google, whose war with China in 2010 was major news. After “highly sophisticated and targeted attacks” on Google, including attempts to break into Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, you’d think Google would steer clear of China.

In 2010, Google co-founder Sergey Brin was outspoken against the Chinese government. But Brin has given more responsibility to Product Chief Sundar Pichai. As for China, Mr. Pichai has said the company was “committed to serving the market the best we can.”

In Realpolitik and Realbusiness, there are no enemies and allies. Only competitors and trading partners.

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