The artifice on which every intra-state relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) stands is: “In China, ‘win-win” means China wins twice.” There have been a few articles on the PRC here on SOFREP. I recently worked on a project that dealt with this, and thus my decision to write on it was appropriately supplanted by my own concerns for OPSEC.

This changed with the advent of Edward Snowden‘s trip to the PRC which, in effect, may have changed some TTPs that that the PRC used (or prior to the event, failed to use) and my project which lasted for well over six months got flushed away. Fun times. Needless to say then, after this work I have seen and read so much crap on the PRC that I can probably speak Mandarin and Cantonese in my sleep.

Current efforts by the PRC at shaping the world are actually a strategy (a key word here) of approximately 20 years in the making. There are two key facets to this strategy, and under one part many sub-facets. The first is the very straightforward one termed as Sha Shou Jian, or “Assassin’s Mace” (very loosely translated). This component of the strategy is dedicated toward the military face (faces are important in PRC culture).

This face, or avatar, is straightforward and is essentially based on an old story of a disadvantaged opponent taking down a larger opponent with a blunt object. A rough equivalent is the story of David and Goliath. Assassin’s Mace is not an attack or defend strategy, but merely one that observes the vulnerabilities in an advantaged opponent and develops technology to neutralize an advantage held by the technologically superior opponent. David Hambling at Wired wrote a fairly close look at this component by using HARM missiles as just one example.

The second and lesser known facet of this strategy is Harmonious Fist. This is an informal name use and hearkens back to what the West called the “Boxers,” but the Chinese know as the “Army of the Harmonious Fists.” The Harmonious Fist symbolizes the nature of the secret society that used its martial prowess in combination with its existing environment to attempt to expel foreign influences from China. This aspect of Chinese strategy is the one I will discuss and in true form, how het-nets feed into the strategy. I got involved with this as I usually did. Somebody asked me to hunt some hackers. In this case, Team XeYe.

My requirements come in pretty loosely. So when I get this, I get some names and someone mumbles something about hackers. I ask questions and the awkward silence that follows is usually an indication that someone in the nether of intel doesn’t want to say who they are and why they are asking for this. If I find something, then f*ckers start popping out of the woodwork.

Ninety-nine percent of my work is on the same network you all use, with some tweaks to my deck that help me stay quiet. Hackers in the PRC are not like hackers here in the US. An average grade hacker in the PRC can run a certificate collision attack pretty effectively. This is because, unlike the US, most urban regions in the PRC are pretty well social-engineered. Even rural areas have a high degree of social engineering. Ever play Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri? Well there’s a reason that the Chinese faction is called the “Human Hive.” While contemporary China doesn’t get as many social engineering points as the future one does, it’s working toward that pretty quickly.