The Chinese government arrested a group of hackers within its borders at the request of the U.S. government, anonymous U.S. officials told the Washington Post.
The hackers were arrested in September, before Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Washington for a state visit and talks with President Obama.
During President Xi’s visit to Washington in September, the U.S. and China announced a cybertreaty in which the two nations agreed not to engage in corporate cyberespionage and cybertheft of intellectual property. Industry leaders have expressed skepticism that China would adhere to the agreement, indicating the agreement would lead to little change.
“There’s a difference between an agreement on paper and having the Chinese government, including the People’s Liberation Army, actually stop conducting and supporting cyber attacks on U.S. companies,” said Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in a statement at the time.
Yesterday, U.S. authorities named three state-owned Chinese companies believed to have benefited from intellectual property stolen from U.S. companies.
Few details are available about the hackers. It is unclear whether they are linked to the five Chinese military officers indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2014 and charged with economic espionage.
[An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that these arrests mark the first time China complied with U.S. requests to arrest hackers within China’s borders.]