USA authorities on Thursday alleged that the two worked in association with China's ministry of state security, in an operation that targeted intellectual property and corporate secrets to give Chinese companies an unfair competitive advantage.
The two are accused of breaching computer networks in a broad swath of industries, including aviation and space and pharmaceutical technology. They are not in custody.
In October, the Department of Justice obtained the unprecedented extradition of a senior Chinese intelligence official from Belgium to stand trial in the United States for running the effort to steal USA aviation industry secrets.
Rosenstein said that 90 percent of the department's economic espionage cases in the last seven years involved the Chinese government.
The British government accused China of conducting a "widespread and significant" campaign of cyber-espionage against the United Kingdom and its allies.
The charges were announced by President Donald Trump's administration just weeks after the United States and China agreed to talks aimed at resolving an ongoing trade dispute that threatens global economic growth.
APT10 used to hack and stole "hundreds of gigabytes" of very sensitive information and data from its targets, seizing their systems through hacked MSPs.
The British government said in a statement the hacking was conducted by a group known as APT 10, which was acting on behalf of China's Ministry of State Security.
"China firmly opposes it and has lodged solemn representations with the U.S. side, she said".
The hackers, working in association with China's intelligence service, targeted "manager service providers" (MSPs). The US authorities said the Chinese hackers attempted to commit the breaches in coordination with China's intelligence services.
The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) says the Chinese government has ties to a group that is carrying out commercial espionage in multiple countries - including New Zealand.
The WA resources industry has always been a target of similar hacking attempts, aimed at accessing details of production levels at miners - big and small - to give the Chinese state-owned companies that buy WA's minerals an edge in contract negotiations.
Zhu and Zhang worked under a variety of hacker aliases including "Godkiller" and "Atreexp", respectively, according to the Justice Department.
"The Chinese government has never participated in the stealing of trade secrets or supported anyone in any way to do so", reads a statement on the Chinese FM's official website.
Officials said they had been raising the activities of ATP 10 with the Chinese government for the past two years, including during Theresa May's visit to Beijing in February. Instead, the indictment is meant to send a message to China about how seriously the United States takes such hacking cases.
The announcement from the Justice Department specifically cited China's domestic industrial policy in connection with the cyber attacks.
"The accusation from the US government today that China has violated the 2015 Cybersecurity Agreement means little without a case study or data to support", Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future, a threat intelligence firm, told Fifth Domain.