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comment.The United States has, however, displayed increasing anxiety about China as a cybersecuritythreat. The change Treasury officials made to their direct bidding system before allowing access toChina was to limit access to the system to a specially designed private network connectioncontrolled by the Treasury.China is among the most sensitive topics for bankers and government officials who court thecountry as a financial client because of its size and importance, and none would agree to commenton the record for this story. A former debt management official at the Treasury who did not want to be identified said that asChina's experience in the U.S. Treasury market has deepened over time, Chinese officials mayhave felt more comfortable taking the reins in the management of their holdings.Their request to bid directly, in his view, came from a confidence that their money managers couldbuy U.S. debt more efficiently on their own than through Wall Street banks, which can often driveup the price of Treasuries at an auction if they know how much large clients are willing to pay.Such a practice that is not specifically illegal, though most traders would deem it unethical.Evidence of China's growing sophistication as a money manager in the U.S. markets is clear in itsexpansion of operations in New York. Its money management arm, the State Administration for Foreign Exchange (commonly called SAFE), has an office in Midtown Manhattan and a seasonedchief investment officer -- former Pacific Investment Management Co derivatives head ChanghongZhu -- in Beijing. A woman who answered the phone at SAFE's New York office said no one in the office wasauthorized to talk to the media.(Editing byMartin Howelland Steve Orlofsky)
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