Public warned to beware of espionage

2024-05-24 10:22:40China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Ministry of State Security reminded Chinese people, especially those in key institutes with access to confidential information, to be aware of foreign espionage activities and be better guards of State secrets, as it unveiled a case in which a military engineer provided technological secrets to a foreign spy and ended up in prison.

On Thursday, the ministry revealed in an article on its WeChat account that the engineer, identified only by his surname Zhang, was detained in December 2013 and later sentenced to 15 years in prison for espionage. The article reviewed how Zhang, a talented engineer, ended up being a pawn of a foreign espionage network and later a prisoner.

Born into an impoverished rural family, Zhang began studying automation at an engineering school in 1986. He was assigned to a military institute after graduation and achieved "notable accomplishments" in China's advancements in science, the article said.

While attending an international academic conference in 2004, Zhang, as a military engineering specialist, met a foreign expert who helped him secure an academic visit to a renowned university in 2011. The ministry said the visit led to Zhang becoming a target of foreign intelligence.

In February 2012, with the help of the foreign expert, Zhang met another foreigner, a man the ministry identified as "Jack", who claimed to be a naval military researcher. Jack invited Zhang to enjoy various luxuries, including tours, limousines, banquets and gifts. He also promised to help Zhang's daughter get into a good college and obtain a residence permit in his country, the ministry said.

As Zhang began indulging in the extravagances, Jack revealed himself as an intelligence officer and asked Zhang to provide intelligence in exchange.

Initially panicked and hesitant, Zhang eventually fell victim to Jack's persuasion and enticement, and voluntarily became a "nail" of the foreign agency in China's military industry.

Upon returning to China, Zhang went to great lengths to hunt for intelligence about the industry.

He provided a "large amount" of China's "core technological secrets" that led to "great harm" of China's national interests, the ministry said.

After thorough investigations and with key evidence in hand, State security organs detained Zhang in December 2013 as he was about to leave China to meet with foreign intelligence authorities. Although Zhang was not initially cooperative during his interrogation, he eventually confessed his crimes in light of the evidence shown to him, the ministry said, adding that he forfeited the chance to receive more lenient punishment due to his non-cooperation.

"They had been setting up a trap from the very beginning to the end," the ministry quoted Zhang as saying during his interrogation.

The ministry reminded Chinese people, especially officials in key industries and positions and those who have access to confidential information, to ensure they have a deep understanding of relevant rules and regulations, and act accordingly. It also urged them to be vigilant in foreign-related exchanges and not take advantage of luxuries offered them so as to avoid becoming baited and falling prey to their schemes.

Meanwhile, it also asked people to identify and refuse offers from foreign intelligence officers, and ask for help from embassies or consulates if necessary.

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