U.S. worried about China industrial espionage activities during World's Expo

companies sign in order to do business in China. Many of these contracts include onerous clauses demanding that after a certain period of time (typically three years), Western companies must share their secrets with Chinese companies, allowing them to reverse engineer the Western companies’ products and sell them in the West.

Fox News’s Mike Levine offers an example of China’s kleptocratic ways. China says it is an “opportunity to showcase great achievements and diverse cultures,” but the World’s Expo, which opened in Shanghai on Friday night, is also an opportunity for China to spy on Americans and even recruit new intelligence sources, according to current and former U.S. officials.


Are people who go to the Expo potential targets for espionage? I think you’d be a fool to think otherwise,” said one U.S. official, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the topic.

More than seventy million people from China and abroad, including some of the world’s most powerful businessmen, are expected to visit the Expo before it closes in six months. Nearly 200 countries have set up pavilions, displays and food stands representing their singular cultures and history, according to event organizers.

The event will be the first registered world exhibition held in a developing country, demonstrating the international community’s trust in China and its anticipation of the country’s future development,” said a video released by event organizers. “Expo Shanghai provides an opportunity for China to see the world, and the world to see China.”

Levine writes that, for years, U.S. officials have worried that China might be able to see too much during the World’s Expo and similar global events. “These public venues are laden with opportunities for foreign collectors to interact with U.S. experts and glean information regarding dual-use and sensitive technologies,” said a 2008 report issued by the U.S. intelligence community to Congress. “Such events offer host-country intelligence agencies the opportunity to spot, assess, and even recruit new intelligence sources within the U.S. private sector and to gain electronic access to companies’ virtual networks and databases through technology brought to the events by corporate personnel.”

The report, titled Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage, mentioned the World’s Expo specifically, noting that intelligence and information collection in such “open forums accounted for over four percent of reported suspicious incidents” in the previous year.

A U.S. intelligence official said the threat environment has not changed much since then,