Possible U.S. Sanctions for China Cyber Espionage

By April Kent

The U.S. government has begun drafting unprecedented economic sanctions against Chinese companies for cyber espionage on U.S. businesses, hoping to make cyberspying too costly to continue. The potential sanctions come at a significant moment, as President Ki Jinping of China is scheduled to arrive in Washington for his first state visit next month, and tension is mounting over maritime skirmishes in the South China Sea and China’s recent economic troubles. The U.S. government has not yet decided whether to issue the sanctions, but a positive decision is expected this upcoming week. The announcement has given rise to concerns about whether China will retaliate and the worry that sanctions will only create unnecessary friction. China’s Ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, recently remarked that he hoped “nobody will do anything so nonconstructive,” and that “the U.S. side will make the smart choice.”