Be wary of espionage trap surrounding us

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-9-18 0:28:02

According to foreign media outlets, Ma Jisheng, who served as Chinese ambassador to Iceland, was allegedly arrested by the Ministry of State Security earlier this year on suspicion of passing intelligence to Japan. In recent years, we have frequently witnessed vicious incidents where top Chinese diplomats, military officers and senior research fellows of think tanks have been involved in espionage and selling intelligence. If Ma is confirmed to be involved in this case, that will be startling news.

China has become one of the most powerful strategic competitors with incredible strength, rapid development and a self-contained decision-making mechanism, which has made it a key target of the world's major intelligence agencies. Meanwhile, given the relatively low vigilance in Chinese society, authorities have failed to effectively convey their judgments and understandings to the public. Among the high-risk groups easily eyed by overseas intelligence services, some lack both sufficient knowledge in this regard and a capacity of discernment.

There have been no contemporary spy dramas made in China for a long time, as directors will find it hard to acquire materials, and even if they do, such screenplays would not gain approval. Therefore literary creation in this area seems like a forbidden zone, despite continuous information warfare. 

Plus, there are few news stories involving espionage and Chinese officials. A number of major cases that startled the Chinese elite were not released to the public through the media. In actuality, reporting such incidents will educate many people by letting them know how close those manipulators of overseas intelligence agencies are to us.

Officials and scholars accused of espionage did not fall into the trap overnight. Most of them developed distorted values and indulged themselves, hankering after cash and a life of luxury, so they were easily targeted by foreign intelligence services. They were treated to dinners and offered gifts, which gradually induced them to sell national intelligence.

Owing to a lack of public education in this field, ordinary Chinese have a quite shallow understanding of espionage.

Some people feel that everything is secret and become panicked about contact with foreigners, while others are adverse to rules on classified information and regard certain necessary measures as formalism. 

Although information warfare is a common phenomenon around the world and almost every big power has once been mired in espionage cases, China has obviously suffered more losses in recent years. Ma Jisheng is not the first top diplomat caught for spying.

With advanced technologies in the modern era, there is an increasing possibility that those selling intelligence will be caught. And all the potential high-risk groups should recognize this point, which may help them refrain from selling information when they are about to cross the red line.

If it is confirmed that Ma has been caught, we hope that his story will one day appear on media to serve as a warning for others. 


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