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A US government panel specially created to warn of danger from China has warned of danger from China. The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) says the People's Republic is brewing cyber network attacks which could cause "disruption and chaos" with the "magnitude of a weapon of mass destruction".

The USCC was created in 2000 by Act of Congress, which said "the purpose of the commission is to monitor, investigate, and report to Congress on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China".

Unsurprisingly, the commission has concluded that there are such implications. Big ones. Its latest annual report (large pdf) has gained worldwide ink, with the Beeb's man in Washington reckoning that "this is a hard-hitting report which will be consumed eagerly and with concern in the US capital".

It seems that the People's Liberation Army are (shock!) engaged in cyber war:

Chinese defense planners are... undermining the US military's technological edge through a variety of disruptive means. Among these is cyber warfare... a cyber attack could, in fact, be in the magnitude of a weapon of mass destruction... referring to the psychological effects that would be generated by the sense of disruption and chaos caused by a cyber attack...

And preparing for war in space, of course:

Chinese military strategists and aerospace scientists have been "quietly designing a blueprint for achieving space dominance" for more than a decade.

And my god, that's not all. The blighters are engaging in unfair trade practices which knacker the US economy and steal jobs from righteous American workers. In last year's report, the USCC said:

The Chinese government's deliberate undervaluation of the renminbi makes US products more expensive to Chinese consumers who therefore purchase fewer of them. Conversely, China's undervalued currency also makes Chinese products cheaper in the United States, and therefore US consumers purchase more of them. The combination is a major contributor to the record-high and still-growing US trade deficit. The undervalued Chinese currency harms American competitiveness and is also a factor encouraging the relocation of US manufacturing overseas while discouraging investments in US exporting industries.

Not content with hacking US computers, stealing US military secrets, and wrecking the US economy, the fiendish commies are even destroying the US ecology.

The air pollution resulting from China's energy use policies and practices... is detrimentally affecting the air quality of the western United States.

Have we missed anything? Oh yes, the Chinese are giving nuclear missiles to Iran. And stealing American intellectual property. And incubating fearful global plagues, probably on purpose. And trying to buy up oil which America wants. They're also using "illegal" tariffs to "hollow out" the US industrial base. The fiends even plan, seemingly, to begin exporting cars to America - which will cripple the US defence-industrial base, of course (because the US forces mainly consist of cars?).

Basically, China is responsible for almost everything bad that happens. Lost your job, Mr American? Are you ill? Nasty weather today? Petrol costing too much?

The Chinese did it.

By now it may not be any surprise that one of the USCC commissioners is Larry Wortzel, the man behind the "China can hack the US Navy" hysteria not long ago.

Sure, the People's Liberation Army would like to get into a position where they could gobble up Taiwan before America could do anything about it. If the Chinese can spy on the rest of the world over the internet, they will. They probably are developing network and space warfare capabilities and plans, just like the USA. Sure, the People's Republic is a nasty oppressive one-party state which doesn't care about the environment or free trade or anything much except gaining in power.

But it isn't China's fault that cars are cheaper when they're built by people who don't get a good salary, pension, health and dental care. It isn't China's fault there's smog in Los Angeles, or that Steve Jobs chooses to have his hardware assembled overseas - and that Americans still choose to buy it.

China surely is trying to lift any technical information it can find in America, but it probably isn't trying any harder than Russia (or, pound for pound, Israel and France). Or the UK, for that matter, although we Brits work more openly in the States.

Is China the "single greatest threat" to US tech dominance, as the report says? Not hardly. ®

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