China’s C919 Takes to the Skies Over Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour Amidst Espionage Allegation

China’s passenger jetliner C919 made a showoff flight over Victoria Harbour on Dec. 16. Often hailed as a cornerstone of the CCP’s “Made in China 2025” initiative, the C919 finds itself entangled in controversy with revelations of espionage and hacking activities targeting foreign aviation companies.At around 10:30 on Dec 16, the C919 took off from the Hong Kong International Airport. In a west-to-east trajectory, it twice entered and flew over Victoria Harbour, at an altitude of 1,500 feet and 1,000 feet, respectively. Locals and tourists alike watched and took photos from both sides of Victoria Harbour.The two mainland China passenger aircraft, C919, and ARJ21, have been on display in Hong Kong for six consecutive days starting from Dec. 12 . After his visit on Tuesday, the city’s leader, John Lee Ka-chiu called on locals to come out and “witness the country’s extraordinary achievements in the development of civilian passenger aircraft” on both sides of Victoria Harbour on Saturday. China’s C919 passenger plane flies over Victoria Harbor for a demonstration, on Dec. 16, 2023, in Hong Kong. (Yu Gang/The Epoch Times)Although the authorities emphasize that the C919 passenger jetliner is “independently developed” by China, according to official data, the locally sourced parts account for only about 60 percent of the total. Critical components such as engines, electromechanical systems, avionics systems, and other core components are not domestically produced, with technology primarily sourced from the United States and Europe. On May 28, the C919 passenger plane was put into commercial operation for the first time by China Eastern Airlines. However, it was unable to carry passengers back after flying from Shanghai to Chengdu on June 29 and did not fly again until July 1. China’s C919 passenger plane flies over Victoria Harbor for a demonstration, on Dec. 16, 2023, in Hong Kong. (Yu Gang/The Epoch Times)The C919 has also been marred by allegations of espionage, with the CCP accused of deploying hackers to steal technology from overseas. The U.S. cybersecurity company CrowdStrike released a report in 2019, stating that the CCP conducted a hacking operation called “Turbine Panda” to manufacture the C919 passenger aircraft. A hacker team led by the CCP’s Ministry of National Security has conducted systematic attacks for many years on foreign companies that provide components for the C919 passenger aircraft, to obtain all technological and commercial secrets and intellectual property rights related to the C919. The companies affected include Ametek, an American electronic instrument and electromechanical equipment maker, Honeywell, a diversified American high-tech manufacturing enterprise, Safran, a French aerospace and defense security high-tech multinational conglomerate, and U.S. combustion engine and turbine manufacturer Capstone Turbine and General Electric (GE), among others.In November 2022, Xu Yanjun, deputy director of the Sixth Bureau of the Jiangsu Provincial State Security Department under CCP’s Ministry of State Security, was sentenced to 20 years in jail by a U.S. court. He was the first CCP intelligence official to be convicted by the United States. The verdict stated that he attempted to steal technology related to GE Aviation’s exclusive composite aircraft engine blades and recruited U.S. airline personnel to visit China to obtain their confidential technical expertise.Related Stories​

China’s C919 Takes to the Skies Over Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour Amidst Espionage Allegation

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China’s passenger jetliner C919 made a showoff flight over Victoria Harbour on Dec. 16. Often hailed as a cornerstone of the CCP’s “Made in China 2025” initiative, the C919 finds itself entangled in controversy with revelations of espionage and hacking activities targeting foreign aviation companies.

At around 10:30 on Dec 16, the C919 took off from the Hong Kong International Airport. In a west-to-east trajectory, it twice entered and flew over Victoria Harbour, at an altitude of 1,500 feet and 1,000 feet, respectively. Locals and tourists alike watched and took photos from both sides of Victoria Harbour.

The two mainland China passenger aircraft, C919, and ARJ21, have been on display in Hong Kong for six consecutive days starting from Dec. 12 . After his visit on Tuesday, the city’s leader, John Lee Ka-chiu called on locals to come out and “witness the country’s extraordinary achievements in the development of civilian passenger aircraft” on both sides of Victoria Harbour on Saturday.

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 China’s C919 passenger plane flies over Victoria Harbor for a demonstration, on Dec. 16, 2023, in Hong Kong. (Yu Gang/The Epoch Times)
China’s C919 passenger plane flies over Victoria Harbor for a demonstration, on Dec. 16, 2023, in Hong Kong. (Yu Gang/The Epoch Times)

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Although the authorities emphasize that the C919 passenger jetliner is “independently developed” by China, according to official data, the locally sourced parts account for only about 60 percent of the total. Critical components such as engines, electromechanical systems, avionics systems, and other core components are not domestically produced, with technology primarily sourced from the United States and Europe. On May 28, the C919 passenger plane was put into commercial operation for the first time by China Eastern Airlines. However, it was unable to carry passengers back after flying from Shanghai to Chengdu on June 29 and did not fly again until July 1.

.

 China’s C919 passenger plane flies over Victoria Harbor for a demonstration, on Dec. 16, 2023, in Hong Kong. (Yu Gang/The Epoch Times)
China’s C919 passenger plane flies over Victoria Harbor for a demonstration, on Dec. 16, 2023, in Hong Kong. (Yu Gang/The Epoch Times)

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The C919 has also been marred by allegations of espionage, with the CCP accused of deploying hackers to steal technology from overseas. The U.S. cybersecurity company CrowdStrike released a report in 2019, stating that the CCP conducted a hacking operation called “Turbine Panda” to manufacture the C919 passenger aircraft. A hacker team led by the CCP’s Ministry of National Security has conducted systematic attacks for many years on foreign companies that provide components for the C919 passenger aircraft, to obtain all technological and commercial secrets and intellectual property rights related to the C919. The companies affected include Ametek, an American electronic instrument and electromechanical equipment maker, Honeywell, a diversified American high-tech manufacturing enterprise, Safran, a French aerospace and defense security high-tech multinational conglomerate, and U.S. combustion engine and turbine manufacturer Capstone Turbine and General Electric (GE), among others.

In November 2022, Xu Yanjun, deputy director of the Sixth Bureau of the Jiangsu Provincial State Security Department under CCP’s Ministry of State Security, was sentenced to 20 years in jail by a U.S. court. He was the first CCP intelligence official to be convicted by the United States. The verdict stated that he attempted to steal technology related to GE Aviation’s exclusive composite aircraft engine blades and recruited U.S. airline personnel to visit China to obtain their confidential technical expertise.