China and its cyber capabilities, are you really surprised?

Pierluigi Paganini March 20, 2015

China has admitted the existence in its military organization of special information warfare units, I contacted one of the greatest experts for a comment.

Bill Hagestad (Red-DragonRising  @RedDragon1949) is a consultant, speaker and expert on Chinese cyber warfare. He is author of 21st Century Chinese Cyberwarfare and Chinese Information Warfare Doctrine Development 1994 – 2014  among others. Lieutenant Colonel(ret) US Marine Corps.

I contacted Bill Hagestad II to have a clear picture related the information that the security community and intelligence collected over the year about Chinese cyber capabilities.

“Here are my views on the latest headlines about Chinese ‘hacking divisions” – the news is nothing new…albeit great that Chinese Hacking & the PLA is making the headlines, it is mere sensationalism and self-promotion – not really contributing anything new to the study of Chinese Military Cyber Doctrine Development.

Factually the work on this subject is pioneered in the West by LtCol Timothy Thomas US Army retired. It was carried on by Richard Bejtlich @taosecurity and further studied by Scot Turban, USMC. I have since carried the torch on behalf these three and others such as Mark Stokes, since 2011.

Theories about Chinese military use of computers as a weapon system began some would argue with Major General Wang Pu Feng in 1995; later in 1999 Senior Colonels Qiao Liang & Wang Xiangsui of the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) wrote “War Without Limits” colloquially known as “Unrestricted Warfare”. In 2002 Major General Dai Qing Min codified Chinese Military Information Warfare (IW) strategy with his pronouncement of Integrated Network Electronic Warfare (INEW). From

2002 to 2010 the Chinese began carefully studying through observation the US Military use of Electronic Warfare (EW) uses during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) – please don’t ask me about this as some of it is still CLASSIFIED.

As late as 2009, Chinese Military Officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Professor Hu Xiaofeng Professor Meng Xiangqing have stated that since August 8th 2009 that the PLA cadre’s are being taught “Combat Development Under Conditions of Informatization” (see

In 2010, then President Hu Jin Tao gather his five most senior PLA generals of the General Staff Directorate (GSD) and proclaimed he wanted an informization command, Chinese version of cyber command in response to the US Department of Defence’s militarization of the binary world with the creation of component command, US Cyber Command in 2009.

Then president Hu’s presidential order on 20 JUL 2010 was “to handle cyber threats as China enters the information age, & strengthen the nation’s cyber-infrastructure”.

Cyber China

On 8 NOV 2012 as Hu Jin Tao was transferring Chinese presidential leadership to Xi Jin Ping he stated that the Chinese military the PLA “China will speed up full military IT Applications by 2020”. The orders given to the PLA about cyber warfare future operations included these following important points:

“…train a new type of high-caliber military personnel in large numbers, intensively carry out military training under computerized conditions, and enhance integrated combat capability based on extensive IT application…”;

“…implement the military strategy of active defense for the new period, and enhance military strategic guidance as the times so require”;

“…strengthen national defense aim to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and ensure its peaceful development…“;

“…enhance the capability to accomplish a wide range of military tasks, the most important of which is to win local war in an information age…“; See this link for the details:

In 2013, we have the now (lately 2015 MAR) infamous headline grabbing

“中國武裝力量的多元化就業” or The Science of Military Strategy” that McReynolds claims is new – it is not…I have been speaking globally about this since it came out in ENGLISH on 16 APR 2013! (see both and

While his headlines are a continuation of Chinese military cyber development they are NOT NEW!

– From China’s “The Science of Military Strategy” the key tenent is “In addition to winning local wars under conditions of informatization outside the core military tasks, but also given by the State to complete the new diversified military missions and tasks.” I ordered this book from at this link:

In 2014, both a Hong Kong newspaper and the Chinese version of the Wall Street Journal broke news of an alleged Chinese National Security Agency or “揭秘中国情报机构总参三部” (see both and

My original research in 2014 indicates that the three new PLA leaders of China’s NSA are the following PLA Officers:

鲍廷祥, 总参某信息保障基地政委

Bao Tingxiang, Political Commissar of Information Assurance Base;

张宁 总参, 某卫星地面站主任

Zhang Ning General Staff Director of Strategic Satellites; and,

张玉 总参某卫星地面站工程师

Zhang Yu General Staff Director of Satellite Earth Stations see this link for confirmation:

In late 2014 Chinese military websites began announcing PLA use of information weapons see 中國軍隊信息化战争时代的战斗力生成模式

China’s Information Warfare Age – A Mode for Generating Combat Power, see And again 中国网络战部队大数据助力军队提高信息化作战能力

Chinese Cyber Forces: Large Data to Help Improve Chinese Military Information Warfare Capability, see

On 6 JAN 2015 Major General Zhu Tan of the PLA stated that “Information weapons are the key to future warfare” see link for details:

On 7 JAN 2015 Chinese University at Xi’an began announcement of university level cyber warfare education courses for the Chinese military (PLA); “西電開設網絡工程學院

Xi’an University of Electronic Science & Technology and Chinese military PLA cyber warfare courses” and “西安电子科大网络与信息安全学

院成立 - Xi’an Electronic Science Tech Inst establishes Network & Info Security Courses”. See both and


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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – China, Information warfare)

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