China is reportedly trying to acquire the US military’s latest technology, but according to Reuters, it’s not using traditional methods of espionage to do so. The world’s most populous nation has eschewed the use of spies and shadowy double agents, deciding instead to recruit a mass of amateurs to flood the market, an approach that has seen the number of arms trafficking cases linked to China grow by 50 percent since 2010.
In its quest to bypass embargoes and obtain the latest U.S. military technology, China isn’t only relying on a cadre of carefully trained spies. It’s also enlisting a growing army of amateurs. Their orders come indirectly from the Chinese government and take the form of shopping lists that are laundered through companies with ties to Beijing.