Financial TimesFinancial Times

China lured graduate jobseekers into digital espionage

By Eleanor Olcott and Helen Warrell

30 Jun 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

This fascinating FT investigation reveals how a Chinese hacking group got university students to do espionage without them even knowing it.

Chinese university students have been lured to work at a secretive technology company that masked the true nature of their jobs: researching western targets for spying and translating hacked documents as part of Beijing’s industrial-scale intelligence regime.

The Financial Times has identified and contacted 140 potential translators, mostly recent graduates who have studied English at public universities in Hainan, Sichuan and Xi’an. They had responded to job adverts at Hainan Xiandun, a company that was located in the tropical southern island of Hainan.

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