This is the first time the United States has charged employees of a foreign state with stealing trade secrets from American companies, according to law enforcement officials. U.S. government officials have long complained about Chinese intrusions into U.S. computer systems, targeting trade secrets and giving Chinese companies a competitive edge.
The charges are being filed against five people who allegedly work for a part of the People's Liberation Army known as Unit 61398 in Shanghai. The hackers allegedly stole plans for a nuclear power plant and cost and pricing information from a solar panel firm.
Attorney General Eric Holder and senior Federal Bureau of Investigation officials plan to announce the charges Monday morning.