May 16, 2012:
American Internet giants like Google and Facebook now realize that intrusive hackers, usually traced back to China, are apparently Chinese attempts to steal basic technology so that similar Internet services, like those provided by Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others can be duplicated for use just in China. Cloud computing, social networks, and news distribution services like Twitter and Youtube are blocked in China, in order to prevent rapid dissemination of news the government does not approve of. That has caused some problems in China.
Many Chinese Internet users are aware of these forbidden services and want to use them. Unless given a suitable Chinese substitute many more Chinese will take the effort to learn the techniques that enable them to circumvent the Chinese national firewall and content filtering system. China does not want to take on several hundred million angry Chinese Internet users, so they seek to provide adequate Chinese substitutes, which are based in China and under the observation and supervision of the Chinese Internet police. To this end the Chinese government tries to steal the software from the West, rather than devote considerable efforts to duplicating the Western systems (and usually coming up with a second-rate product).
The only downside to this approach is the fact that their American targets are staffed by some of the best Internet and software engineers in the world. This has led to many of the hacking attempts failing. Worse, the Google and Facebook engineers have compiled more evidence that all this hacking is coming from China. This has not stopped the Chinese, as it is still cheaper to steal than write your own code. A more vexing problem is growing anger among Chinese Internet users at the government censorship. There's no easy solution to the problems created when the government reminds its subjects that they are living in a communist police state.