Second [Intelligence] Department
The Second [Intelligence] Department of the PLA General Staff Headquarters is responsible for collecting military information. Activities include military attaches at Chinese embassies abroad, clandestine special agents sent to foreign countries to collect military information, and the analysis of information publicly published in foreign countries.
The Second Department oversees military human intelligence (HUMINT) collection, widely exploits open source materials, fuses HUMINT, signals intelligence (SIGINT), and imagery intelligence data, and disseminates finished intelligence products to the CMC and other consumers. Preliminary fusion is carried out by the Second Department's Analysis Bureau which mans the National Watch Center, the focal point for national-level indications and warning. In-depth analysis is carried out by regional bureaus.
Although traditionally the Second Department of the General Staff Department was responsible for military intelligence, it is beginning to increasingly focus on scientific and technological intelligence in the military field, following the example of Russian agencies in stepping up the work of collecting scientific and technological information from the West.
The research institute under the Second Department of the General Staff Headquarters is publicly known as the Institute for International Strategic Studies; its internal classified publication MOVEMENTS OF FOREIGN ARMIES [WAI JUN DONGTAI] is published every 10 days and transmitted to units at the division level.
The PLA Institute of International Relations at Nanjing comes under the Second Department of the General Staff Department and is responsible for training military attaches, assistant military attaches and associate military attaches as well as secret agents to be posted abroad. It also supplies officers to the military intelligence sections of various military regions and group armies. The Institute was formed from the PLA "793" Foreign Language Institute, which moved from Zhangjiakou after the Cultural Revolution and split into two institutions at Luoyang and Nanjing.
The Institute of International Relations was known in the 1950s as the School for Foreign Language Cadres of the Central Military Commission, with the current name being used since 1964. The training of intelligence personnel is one of several activities at the Institute. While all graduates of the Moscow Institute of International Relations were employed by the KGB, only some graduates of the Beijing Institute of International Relations are employed by the Ministry State Security. The former Institute of International Relations, since been renamed the Foreign Affairs College, is under the administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is not involved in secret service work. The former Central Military Commission foreign language school had foreign faculty members who were either Communist Party sympathizers or were members of foreign communist parties. But the present Institute of International Relations does not hire foreign teachers, to avoid the danger that its students might be recognized when are sent abroad as clandestine agents.
Those engaged in professional work in military academies under the Second Department of the PLA General Staff Headquarters usually have a chance to go abroad, either for advanced studies or as military officers working in the military attache's office of Chinese embassies in foreign countries. People working in the military attache's office of embassies are usually engaged in collecting military information under the cover of "military diplomacy". As long as they refrain from directly subversive activities, they are considered as well-behaved "military diplomats."
Some bureaus under the Second Department which are responsible for espionage in different regions, of which the First Bureau is responsible for collecting information on Taiwan and Hong Kong. Agents are dispatched by the Second Department to companies in Hong Kong like the China Resources Group. In addition, the military also dispatches agents to the Everbright Group, Bank of China Group, and other local corporations to gain cover.
The "Autumn Orchid" intelligence group assigned to Hong Kong and Macao in the mid-1980s mostly operates in the mass media, political, industrial, commercial, and religious circles, as well as in universities and colleges. The "Autumn Orchid" intelligence group is mainly responsible for the following three tasks:
- Finding out and keeping abreast of the political leanings of officials of the Hong Kong and Macao governments, as well as their views on major issues, through social contact with them and through information provided by them.
- Keeping abreast of the developments of foreign governments' political organs in Hong Kong, as well as of foreign financial, industrial, and commercial organizations.
- Finding out and having a good grasp of the local media's sources of information on political, military, economic, and other developments on the mainland, and deliberately releasing false political or military information to the media to test the outside response. It is understood that news of the the so-called "fourth-wave military exercise" last spring was spread by the Japanese media on tips supplied by a correspondent assigned by the Chinese Communists to Hong Kong. The correspondent was recalled in early May.
The "Autumn Orchid" intelligence group was awarded a Citation for Merit, Second Class, in December 1994. It was further awarded another Citation for Merit, Second Class, not long after.
The Chinese do more economic espionage against the US and other nations than all other countries combined. China's cyber-espionage probably costs the US economy about 40 billion dollars a year and has affected between 100,000 and 200,000 American jobs. There is no international law that forbids espionage for political-military purposes, mainly because all countries do it and don't want an international law regulating it. But there is law that forbids the theft of intellectual property of which the People's Republic of China is a signatory.
When China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) it agreed to protect intellectual property and treat foreign and Chinese companies on an equal basis. China ignores these commitments and argues that it shouldn't have to observe the rules because it is still a poor country. There are many known incidents where the People's Liberation Army has hacked companies in Germany, the UK, France, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, India, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and Canada in addition to the US.
On 19 May 2016, the United States charged Chinese military officials with hacking into US companies to steal vital trade secrets. The criminal indictment alleges that the five officers of the People's Liberation Army [Unit 61398 in Shaghai] "maintained unauthorized access to victim computers to steal information from these entities that would be useful to their competitors in China, including state-owned enterprises," US Attorney General Eric Holder said. The alleged targets were Alcoa World Alumina, Westinghouse Electric Co., Allegheny Technologies, U.S. Steel Corp., the United Steelworkers Union and SolarWorld. The indictment, which includes charges of trade-secret theft and economic espionage, was issued in Pittsburgh, where most of the companies are based.
They are accused of stealing business confidential information such as a company's negotiating strategy or bottom line, and intellectual property that they then passed on to Chinese companies so they could build a competing product without having to invest in research and development. China denied it all, saying the charges were "purely ungrounded and absurd."
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