The suspects are unlikely to be brought to trial because China does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
officials said the hackers were pursuing information and research about the coronavirus vaccine from American biotech firms but described it as an attempt to steal the data.
The indictment, which was filed in the Eastern District of Washington, did not say that the hackers successfully stole information or research on the vaccine.
The pair did try to hack a Massachusetts biotech firm researching a vaccine as early as Jan. 27, according to the indictment.
While the indictment named only the two suspects, unlike the larger group of Russian hackers accused of seeking vaccine data, the Justice Department portrayed their work as far-reaching and long-running, going back to at least 2009.