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China poses greatest threat to US economic security: FBI Director

FBI Director Christopher Wray (Photo: FBI Media)

China poses the greatest threat to the United States in the field of economic security and innovation, stealing terabytes of data from hundreds of US companies, FBI Director Christopher Wray has said.

"When we tally up what we see in our investigations, over 2,000 of which are focused on the Chinese government trying to steal our information or technology, there's just no country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, innovation, and economic security than China," Wray said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Monday. Wray said that the Chinese government steals "staggering volumes of information and causes deep, job-destroying damage across a wide range of industries," adding that the bureau is "constantly opening new cases to counter their intelligence operations about every 12 hours."

According to FBI Director, stealing innovation isn't the only way the Chinese government shows their disregard for the international rule of law.

"The Chinese government is increasingly targeting people inside the U.S. for personal and political retribution–undercutting the freedoms that our Constitution and laws promise. The kinds of people the Chinese Communist Party tends to go after are not those that a responsible government would make their enemies, refugees, dissidents, and Uyghurs, people with their own ideas, who speak or worship as their conscience dictates," he said.

Citing the example of "Fox Hunt," Wray said this program that President Xi Jinping claimed in 2014 was created to stamp out corruption, but in reality, it targets, captures, and repatriates former Chinese citizens living overseas whom it sees as a political or financial threat.

"Over the past eight years, the Chinese government has hauled home more than 9,000 people worldwide, bringing them back to China, where they can be imprisoned or controlled," he said.

Currently, there are hundreds of people on U.S. soil who are on the Chinese government's official Fox Hunt list and many more not on the official list, according to FBI Director. "Most of the targets are green card holders, naturalized citizens, folks with important rights and protections under U.S. law."

Wray also stressed that his speech concerned the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party posing the threat the FBI is addressing, and not the Chinese people.