China is engaged in a broad-ranging information warfare campaign as part of a covert effort to take control of the South China Sea — in the words of ancient strategist Sun Tzu, without firing a shot.
The Chinese cyber attacks have been carried out extensively on regional states along with political influence operations designed to falsely convince the international community that the waters of the sea are and have been China’s sovereign maritime territory.
James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, told a Senate hearing last week that aggressive Chinese cyber attacks were continuing. ” China continues to succeed in conducting cyber espionage against the US government, our allies, and US companies,” he said.
In the South China Sea, the covert effort remained at low levels over the past 10 years as China built up more than 3,000 acres of new islands and in recent months began militarizing the islands in the takeover campaign.
Another goal of the information operation was to play down the significance of Beijing’s South China Sea activities in a calculated bid to avoid provoking the United States.
The South China Sea information war program is outlined in my book, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, published Jan. 3.
“The People’s Republic of China has studied the US approach to information warfare from the Cold War and has successfully navigated itself into a position of ‘respectability’ compared to their brothers from Russia and their ham-fisted ‘Russia Today’ (RT),” said retired US Navy Capt. James Fanell, a former Pacific Fleet intelligence director who specializes in Chinese affairs.
Fanell see Chinese information warfare targeting the United States and the inability to recognize the danger to a frog being slowly boiled alive. “The heat in the pool just keeps going up one degree at a time,” he says.
Until the recent UN Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against China’s expansive claims to the sea, China appeared to have succeeded in deceiving the world into believing that the waters were historically theirs and that any other countries’ claims to the sea as international waters were false.
Beijing also announced, significantly, that any attempt to counter these claims posed a threat to China’s core national interests — language widely regarded as a basis for going to war to defend those interests.
The campaign utilized a sophisticated combination of information warfare and Chinese deception operations that lulled the United States into first ignoring the problem, and later halfheartedly attempting, through public statements, to prevent military weapons and facilities from being added.
By late last year, however, it was too late. China was finished building a series of military bases in the South China Sea, first on Woody Island in the Paracels, in the northern part of the sea, then on three separate maritime outposts in the Spratly Islands in the southern part.
Behind the scenes China launched an aggressive information and cyber warfare operation against regional states beginning around 2010, using military cyber warfare units located in the Chengdu military region under a code-named Unit 78020. No government was spared in the attacks that involved cyber strikes against computer networks in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“We assess Unit 78020’s focus is the disputed, resource-rich South China Sea, where China’s increasingly aggressive assertion of its territorial claims has been accompanied by high-tempo intelligence gathering,” states a report by the cyber security firm ThreatConnect. “The strategic implications for the United States include not only military alliances and security partnerships in the region, but also risks to a major artery of international commerce through which trillions of dollars in global trade traverse annually.”
The South China Sea is used for international trade to the tune of US$5 trillion annually.
The goal for China in the sea is to impose regional hegemony and drive out the US Navy, which has kept the area free and open to international trade for decades.
The information warfare campaign focused on all the governments of Southeast Asia, including the headquarters of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations and private and public energy organizations. The operation included data theft, to gain valuable commercial information and foreign government secrets that could be given to Chinese companies or used in negotiations.
For the longer term, Chinese military hackers gained strategic access to target government computer networks that could be attacked and shut down in a crisis or conflict, or used to spread disinformation internally to confuse and weaken China’s enemies.
For the South China Sea campaign, the Chinese used an extensive network of hundreds of Internet Protocol addresses that in some cases were used for only an hour before being abandoned — all in line with a methodology designed to avoid detection by cyber security services, both government and private.
Through these information warfare activities China incrementally gained control over the South China Sea and employed multiple pillars of national power with the larger goal of influencing and ultimately imposing political control over the entire region.
The shadow information war is typical of the kinds of activities China engages in not just in Southeast and Northeast Asia but globally as part of its drive for world acceptance and domination.
China today employs strategic information warfare to defeat its main rival: the United States. China’s demands to control social media and the Internet are part of its information warfare against America and must be resisted if free and open societies and the information technology they widely use are to prevail. China remains the most dangerous strategic threat to America — both informationally and militarily.
No body is paying atention.
Blah! Blah! Recall Ronald’s bomb, bomb away.
This author does not mention Snowden and the Golden Rule.
Can’t teach an old dog a new trick! Although that ‘NEW TRICK’ has been around millennium all over the world (history).
I stopped reading the article when I got to "UN Permanent Court of Arbitration" an arbitration that has got nothing to do with UN! Does this author have any shame?
Ditto, I fast scan the article when ever his article appears. Bill Gertz is nothing but an anti China propagandist for the CIA.
I did not bother to read this article because the American anti-China crowd sounds like a broken record. Please stop already. China is not the US’ s enemy, you are.
So China is conducting cyber warfare against all its neighbors and they are not saying anything? Maybe they’re afraid and will buddy up to the US for "protection". Actually, most of these countries are cozying up to China. At least they know China won’t "color revolution" them.
Author obviously tries to sabotage the good relation between China and Asean by making roundlesss accusations. After all previous methods to badmouth China failed miserably.
China illegally occupied the artificial islands without consent of Asean members raise and jeopardize the interest of neighbors countries
Communist not only abiding international arbitration verdict, yet they behaves arrogant and aggressive expand the south China sea . This is herItage or asset leave by our ancestors, we got well preversed it bullshit where is the prove. China is peacefully raise sound good, let see how they treated Vietnamese in 2014 in oil drilling . Communist Apply water cannon attacked on them, smash down Vietnam boat glasses and grap the oil . China is raise with militarization that is comment from America Chinese, Us and it’s Ally Japan Australia shall lecture China on south china . When the time is mature, the artificial islands will be destroyed by US and return to normal for free navigation of international of all traded ships.
Its not even called the UN court. Its an "international" court
We could take it all back in an afternoon, and the Chinese know it. Good chip to have in a trade war though
Who gave you or america the right to claim that all the scs islands are internationally owned? That coming from a country which does not recognise the law of the sea and has annexed many islands not even near its coast. China does not need covert information operation.
The facts convince the world it is a benign power, unlike the US, which could be toxic at times.
Trump should listen to his son in law,he is a wise man quit Asia & let china manage the show for us……i don’t think after US quits Asia the sun will change its course & decide to rise up in the east.As for me a bowl of rice will always be available whoever is in the powershow but there is more predictability if china is in command…..so i am securing my personal interest
Bill Gertz must be hoping his rabid anti-China outpourings get noticed by the US Deep State – like how crazed Peter Navarro has become Trump trade advisor.
Are you a nut or a moron���
You not even qualify to b call a chinese
Running dog stop barking go lick your master ass will do you much good���
Source (Spratlys.org): http://www.spratlys.org/history/spratly-islands-history-timeline.htm
200 BC: China firstly discovered the Spratly Islands and other Suthern Sea Islands
111 BC: China started to occupy and govern the Southern Sea Islands
206 BC-24 AD: Most of the Paracel, the Spratlys and Pratas Island were known by Chinese geographers of the Han Dynasty
23-220 AD: Yang Fu of the East Han Dynasty made the reference to Nansha Islands in his book entitled Yi Wuzi (Records of Rarities)
220 AD: Nansha (Spratly) Island was settled by Chinese monks, building up a monastery on that island.
220-280 AD: General Kang Tai one of the famous ancient Chinese navigator of East Wu State of the Three Kingdoms Period mentioned Nansha Islands in his book Funan Zhuan (or Journeys to and from Phnom) (the name of an ancient state in today’s Cambodia).
265-420 AD: Fei Yuan of the Jin Dynasty(265-420 A.D.) wrote about the fishing and collecting of coral samples by the fishermen of China on the South China Sea in his article Chronicles of Guangzhou.
789 AD: The Tang Dynasty, China included the Nansha Islands into its administrative map
990 AD: Spratley Islands became a part of the Northern Song area in Hainan
1121 AD: Kublai Khan controlled most of the islands during China’s Yuan Dynasty
1211 AD: The island group shown on a Chinese Map
1250 AD: Chinese frishermen became the right by the Pan-Han Dynasty to settle on some of the northern islets and reefs.
i’m filipino and i agree with the author, china has integrated its military in the internet. well you can see from below th number of paid facebook accounts. it doesn’t take a child to see the number of fake accounts that tries to manipulate the minds of people, by acting as majority in the discussion and by intigrating to media society. well its easy, after all facebook sign up relatively easy, one person can make 100 sub accounts and say like their own comments.
James Chu lol can you guys look at mirror on which who is the true ass licker? a country in which the masses are control in each way possible. wake up you are being use as livestock by you’re government party to achieve their own selfish agenda.
OH old rapist… Stop your lies.
So, you too have no historical cotext? The "9 Dash Line" was drawn (In 1947) as a post-WW2 fantasy by a factional gov’t. w/no means of enforcing it’s claim other than hoping the US might "donate" a water area the latter controlled & conquered from the Empire of Japan, the only historical origin of land & water national claims … Do you think there’a a "deed registry" enforced by an imaginary world government somewhere, you duck?!
(I DO mean "duck"; I don’t use filthy language in-person socially, in-Court as an attorney, or on the Internet like the greater % of mindless millenia who are generally less than half my age with one third my education thinking history started when they were born.)
Who cares about the Court, Simon Dan, Zheng He, & KS Chin, or what it’a called. What will count is that the most long-term arabledefensible, richest, most benignly situated geographically, economically advanced, technologically advanced (By virtue of the most free unfettered free people ever in history.), most riverine, Ieast militarily vulerable, & least likely to fail state in history (Ruled by an experimental & mutable document & not dictatorial tyrants, oligarchs, or criminal dynasts.) is "The Accidental Superpower" (Read the book by Peter Zeihan.). Long after the remaining slave-states of the hysterically failing AfrEurAsian "Land-mess" (And I DO mean "land-mess"; it’a not a typo.), have failed & crumbled in their more-than-obvious coming demographic nightmares, America will, quite handily decide whether any of this planet’s surviving beggars deserve inclusion in the reconstruction that follows & the launching of the human race, not into the silly little S.China Sea, but the ONLY "sea" that matters, the great Cosmos.
What you & your ilk haven’the figured-out is that America just Might (1) Arm Itself so far beyond anyone’a imagination as to be the most frightening spectre the world has ever known, but (2) instead of "helping out" anyone again, just sit-out your WW3, while (3) perfecting it’s own society & ending the "race question" once & for all: through free love, freedom, liberty, & via consendual inter-racial relations, & evolving the Americon Race … bigger, taller, healthier, more intelligent, stronger, more muscular, pervasivelymore exotically beautiful & striking, genetically more sound, et al. etc. God help you all if you provoke us then; if you think our kill ratios are lop-sided now, just wait: we will wade into battle as giants against midgets!!
(Never thought we might just sit it out & let the "old world" destroy itself, did you?! We really, REALLY don’t actually need you. Whether it was just dumb luck & "accidental" or "God-decreed" on this planet doesn’t matter. The "new world" holds the winning hand … in spades!! Provided we get our act together & don’t do the job on ourselves you CAN’T do to us, we have all we need to just stand by, watch you all, & laugh!! Maybe, if we have any crybaby liberals left, we’ll she’d a "crocodile tear" or two!!)
And we’really barely 300 years old.
Hon. Robert F. Frazier, Esq.
Errata to the above post:
"cotext" => "context";
"millenia" => "Millenials";
"haven’the" => "haven’t";
"Might" => "might";
"Arm" => "arm";
"anyone’a" => "anyone’s";
"imagination as" =>
"imagination so as";
"consedual" => "consensual";
"pervasively more"; &
"then; If" => "then. If".
I think that’s all of ’em; too many .. dashed-off my comments in a hurry!!
Hon. Robert F. Frazier, Esq.
So what else is new from this author I said to myself as i studied my finger nails . Nothing much just more China bashing.
James Chu: Illogical ad homing attack. RIles of Logic decree that when one doesn’t refute the other’s argument but instead makes the personal attack In your case, James Chu, using slurs to refer to Li Lee.) one demonstrates
before all one’a own intellectual bankruptcy. That you have done, very nicely, to your own detriment, Mr. Chu.
Yours, Very Truly,
Hon. Robert F. Frazier, Esq.
James Chu: All you have REALLY IS just a foul mouth, isn’t it?! Too bad; you had the opportunity here to demonstrategy whether you have any brains.
Yours, Very Truly,
Hon. Robert F. Frazier, Esq.
Erratic for above post:
"demonstrategy" => "demonstrate".
Hon. Robert F. Frazier, Esq.
Errata for above post:
"ad homing" => "ad hominem";
"Rlles" => "Rules";
"attack In" => "attack (In"; &
"one’a" => "one’s".
Hon. Robert F. Frazier, Esq.
The blood sucking lawyer!
Tabloid writer Bill Gertz spouted more nonsense conspiracy theory against China similar to those espoused by Gordon Chang and a certain UC diversity hire whose career is centered on anti-China and "attacking China" according to the legendary investor, Jim Rogers.
HonRobert FrazierEsq The nine-dash line was drawn to counter French and Japanese claims from the 1930s. Both had tried to take over the entire South China sea, much to the China’s dismay.
Author’s sloppy writing that "UN Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against China’s expansive claims to the sea" indeed has three mistakes:
a) The Permanent Court of Arbitration is not a UN organization.
b) The Permanent Court of Arbitration only provided secretarial and registry services to the special Tribunal that handled the matter brought forward by the Philippines.
c) As the outcome came from a Tribunal which is not a court of law, it cannot be called a "ruling" but an "award".
Littered with similar carelessness, the article has very little use for anone who wants to know what is going on.
No hard evidence and u write rubbish. How much the CIA is funding you? Do you know that after WW2 where Japan had lost the war, the US Navy carrying PLA Navy to reclaim the islands in South China Sea!? Do you know that the US let China to reclaim the ownership at that time? What sort of information wars that you have mentioned above ? Go and study hard especially your history and get your facts right. You are very disappointing as a journalist.
Today Google latest new show communist asked one of country agency urged US should stop flexing muscle in south China , do not always acts as world police to interrupt our internal affairs. Implying Us is the source of problem, inviting more countries to participate in South China . India and Vietnam have their own interests in oil petroleum activities despite the protest from China, Vietnam can have their own artificial island although not perfect as China . Why China always claims South china is our sovereignty , is the entire area solely belong to you. If this physiology is exist, why not militarized the islands in decade of 1980. See China how to protect themselves in Cambodia Asean 2016 meeting, China asked Cambodia do not raise the issue about South China and coming Asean meeting in Philippine, agenda of South China will not in discussions agenda which will anger by other Asean members. Us have no interest in South China , the role is keep free navigation of all ship the admiral Harison stressed we will not let unilaterally shared the domain of sea.
NOBODY THINKS IT IS REAL. BUT WHEN THE PRESIDENT STANDS UP ONE DAY TO ANNOUNCE WE ARE AT WAR. HOPEFULLY WE DONT WAIT IN THE ASIAN AREA EUROPE IS GETTING PREPARED. I DONT HEAR MUCH IN ASIA.
Just another China hater who tried so desperately to smear. He has conveniently "forgotten" to mention how the US eavesdropping the head of other nations including allies
Huh, if the Philippines ate the bet through the error of its Chief’s wisdom nobody’s could be blamed he betrayed indirectly although he had seek protection from constitutional term to reasonbly jusitying his action to pivotal beh. certainly a bet !!
PCA’s decision was/is based on UNCLOS, UNITED NATION Convent On Laws Of The Seas.
Is there any historical evidence to dispute China’s claims? Is there any material evidence to prove that China is engaged in cyber attacks against the United States? Western press and journalists like to try increase their readership through China bashing and see what the response will be from those who subscribe to story telling and propaganda.
well i live in malaysia, this article is just garbage
Zulkifli Hashim PCA did not make any decision. It is not a decision making body, either. What happened is that a special Tribunal using PCA’s secretarial and registry services issued an award.
A tougher approach toward China, if communist still continues with massive deployment with all sort of weapons drone and radar . Not only unable to accessed to deploy new military , yet may confront with US troops . Mr Wang Yi of China foreign minister, verbally announced will settle peacefully with internal Asean members and stress that nothing do to with US .Yet deploy additional militaries tend to turned sound China sea to be air defense zone .Communist always behaves like dictator not negotiate with others claimants , to distribute the resources equally among each other. If communist still stubborn they deserve to be lectured by international societies .
No mention that the one country that most needs freedom of navigation in the SCS is China. No mention that the US and others have run exercises specifically aimed at blockading access. No mention that the SCS is full of US submarines with missiles aimed at China. China has a clear self-defence interest there, with or without the presence of undersea resources.
US policy should be aimed at reassuring China of its safety, not at trying to create reasons for war. The problem is, US long-term strategy appears to be to cripple and dismember China. China quite naturally feels forced to resist that.
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