Why Beijing is Curbing Industrial Spying on the West

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In September 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama reached an agreement that neither nation would “conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors.”

Many astute observers of Chinese cyber operations viewed the pact as a shocking development for numerous reasons, not least of which was that Beijing had never before formally acknowledged conducting cyber operations, much less welcomed limitations on them. Many scoffed that a paper agreement between politicians would impede economic espionage, which Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency, described as “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”

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