Through a hacking group known as "Advanced Persistent Threat 10" or "APT10" — as well as other names including "Red Apollo" and "Stone Panda" — the defendants stole information from at least 45 U.S. tech companies and government agencies, authorities said.
Prosecutors also accused the two of operating in conjunction with the Chinese government.
"China will find it difficult to pretend that it is not responsible for this action," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said at a press conference.
Read the DOJ's charging document here.
The indictment says Zhu and Zhang engaged in technology thefts that began in 2006 and a campaign to steal intellectual property and other data from remote-access client-management companies that started in 2014.
Over the course of the latter campaign, the two accessed computers related to victim companies in "at least 12 countries," the filing alleges.
"China's goal, simply put, is to replace the U.S. as the world's largest global superpower," FBI Director Christopher Wray said at the press conference.
The defendants' group allegedly stole information from at least 45 U.S. technology companies and government agencies. Most of the companies were not named, though the document says that the agencies targeted included the Department of Energy's National Laboratory and NASA's jet propulsion lab.
APT10 allegedly hacked into more than 40 computers connected to the U.S. Navy and stole confidential data, including "the personally identifiable information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel."
They're also accused of hacking three communications technology companies, three companies "involved in manufacturing advanced electronic systems," a maritime technology company, an oil and gas company, and at least 25 other technology-related companies.