China's national security authorities reveal new espionage case involving immigration documents

2023-11-07 15:46:59Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's national security authorities have disclosed a new espionage case in which a man, while processing immigration for his entire family, provided materials to foreign entities, 14 of which were classified as intelligence according to Chinese law. He was sentenced to six years in prison at the first trial.

A case recently cracked by national security authorities in Sichuan Province, Southwest China, has rung alarm bells, urging the public to be more vigilant and to prevent espionage crimes that might occur.

A man surnamed Wang, who was once the head of an overseas institution for a large state-owned enterprise in Southwest China, became embroiled in protracted overseas litigation in 2012. His company was implicated in an alleged "Chinese espionage case" by a foreign intelligence agency due to international competition in a crucial industrial sector. Throughout the litigation, the Chinese company was repeatedly put on the defensive, with Wang's name appearing in so-called "evidence" presented in court by the foreign country.

The documents, which revealed internal details of the Chinese company, were taken from the immigration materials Wang submitted to apply for permanent residency in that country. Investigations confirmed that the way Wang handled his family's immigration significantly deviated from normal legal channels.

Following legal procedures, national security officers searched Wang's residence in Chengdu, finding a large amount of his enterprise's documents, including originals corresponding to Wang's immigration application. The national secrecy department confirmed that among the materials Wang provided overseas, 14 documents were classified as intelligence.

Investigations showed that, to further gain the foreign country's trust, Wang even proactively offered so-called "evidence" and "testimony" at the behest of the foreign spy agency. This action directly hindered his enterprise's ability to conduct normal international operations. The disruption of China's associated industrial chains by technological blockades and suppression resulted in immeasurable losses. After intensive investigations, authorities secured evidence of all Wang's crimes committed abroad and legally arrested him.

The Chengdu Intermediate People's Court recently ruled in the first-instance judgment that Wang, convicted of providing intelligence illegally to foreign entities, was to serve six years in prison. In addition, he was deprived of political rights for two years, and a fine of 500,000 yuan ($68,780) was levied through the confiscation of personal assets.

The national security authorities note that foreign intelligence agencies often disguise their spying activities within commercial transactions and prey on the vulnerabilities of Chinese personnel stationed abroad. These evolving trends have become increasingly evident in recent years, prompting the comprehensive revision of the Counter-Espionage Law, which now includes a clear definition of espionage to assist the public in discerning between lawful and unlawful behavior.

The revised law, in effect since July 1, 2023, represents the first substantial overhaul since its inception in 2014. It was updated in response to the evolving complexity and subtlety of espionage threats, which pose a significant danger to national security and the welfare of the people.

In the case where Wang provided intelligence to foreign entities, certain documents were privately acquired by exploiting management gaps in his company, also revealing vulnerabilities in corporate operations. The updated law reflects lessons learned and introduces a "security precautions" chapter, delineating responsibilities and measures for entities at all levels, and enhances investigative and penal measures to guide future counter-espionage efforts under the new situation.

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