While on the way to work I caught on the news that Australian customs just seized more than half a ton of ice (drug) worth almost half a billion $ being imported form where? China. The Chinese have a lot to answer for and the west needs to use a bit more stick and less carrot to get them into line, methinks.
By the way, to answer the question in the title, IP theft is never okay. We have annual mandatory training courses where I work, to drum that point home. And people have been fired when they were caught doing something questionable along those lines, against another company.
I would view the cyber-cold-war waged by governments as something different from the cyber theft of industrial IP, however. Much like armed forces are different from armed thugs on the street.
Reminds me of an article I read years ago, about the Gypsie culture (now referred to as "Roma" by some). Similar situation there. The concept of personal property is foreign to that culture, evidently much as the concept of IP is to the Chinese.