The Justice Department on Tuesday, July 21,  issued an 11-count indictment against two Chinese citizens, accused of conducting a hacking campaign for information theft and extortion.

U.S. laboratories conducting studies investigating vaccines to combat the CCP Virus are among the hundreds of entities that fell victim to data-stealing hacking.

The Justice Department warned that a federal court report in Spokane, Washington, issued an indictment earlier this month charging two hackers. The indictment stated that they hacked into hundreds of companies, governments, nongovernmental organizations, individual dissidents, clergy, and democratic and human rights activists in the United States and abroad, including Hong Kong and China.

The defendants are two men of Chinese origin, Li Xiaoyu (34) and Dong Jiazhi (33), charged with 11 counts in the indictment. They are alleged to have received computer application technology training at a Chinese university where they were fellow students. For more than 10 years they carried out a software hacking campaign through to the present, targeting companies in countries with high-tech industries, including the United States, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

The target industries included, among others, high-tech manufacturing; medical, civil, and industrial device engineering; business, educational, and gaming software; solar energy; pharmaceuticals, and defense.

More recently, the defendants investigated vulnerabilities in the computer networks of companies developing COVID-19 vaccines, testing the technology and treatments.

In some cases, the defendants acted for their financial gain, and in others for the benefit of the Chinese Ministry of State Security and other Chinese Communist Party (CCP) agencies.

The report continues, “China [the CCP] is determined to use every means at its disposal—including the theft of intellectual property from U.S. companies, labs, and universities—to degrade the U.S.’s economic, technological, and military advantages. The scale and scope of the hacking activity sponsored by the PRC intelligence services against the United States and our international partners is unlike any other threat we’re facing today,” said FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich.

The two defendants remain at large in China. Federal officials admitted Tuesday that they would most likely never set foot in an American court.

The indictment carries a significant symbolic charge because the investigation conducted by the United States and the charges against the two Chinese men affect many world powers and powerful companies and institutions.

The United States government is accusing the Chinese Communist Party of being complicit in the hacking, and other piracy and information theft cases recently reported.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington has not yet made a formal statement on the latter case. But, according to Reuters, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Wednesday asked the United States to stop making unfounded accusations against him. 

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