Re: Spying in the 21st century
Is that how modern espionage works: "I've just bought a share in your company ... now you have to give me the plans to all your research!" I have a feeling it isn't quite that simple.
Not really. What they are concerned about is buying enough shares to appoint a majority to the board, and then sending the IP to China. Personally, I don't think it's ever been done that way.
This is how IP theft worked historically when the US was openly stealing British technology and given the number of times that the media publishes stories about Chinese citizens being done for espionage one would imagine that the major advance is in a different area; encourage your own citizens to go abroad for education and then encourage them to apply for jobs in a target list of strategic companies even if they are overqualified and would be underpaid in these jobs.
The employers won't believe their luck and a couple of years later their Chinese employees quit to return to China, taking at minimum their knowledge of how the firm operates with them [which as per the article was enough for America to steal knowledge from Britain], and possibly along with all of the digital documents and plans that can be crammed on removable storage media.
Of course, if a company turned around today and said that they weren't employing Chinese staff because of this risk then they'd be roasted to death on social media for being racist, and sued by our own government for discrimination in their hiring practices.