Why do they want to smear China's 'anti-espionage?': Global Times editorial
Published: May 11, 2023 12:25 AM
Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Recently, China's national security agencies, together with relevant departments, publicly enforced the law against consulting giant Capvision. It is reported that the company had frequently contacted secret-related personnel as well as officials in sensitive fields such as defense and science and hired consulting experts with high remuneration to illegally obtain various types of sensitive data, which posed a major risk and hidden peril to China's national security. The Chinese side has released a lot of details about this case, some of which are shocking. Against the backdrop of the newly revised anti-espionage law passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the case reminds us that it is necessary and urgent to eliminate security loopholes, so as to achieve the standardized and healthy development of related industries, safeguard national security and interests.

The exposure of this case is a good public lesson of safety education for the Chinese people. It can be easily found that with the advancement of technology and new businesses, the means of obtaining sensitive information, including many behaviors in the "gray area," are more concealed and diversified compared with the traditional way of "sending spies" during the Cold War. Take the Capvision case for example, the company encouraged experts from confidential research institutes to "indirectly" answer sensitive questions with examples or analogies in order to satisfy the "customer's needs." In this process, Capvision played the role of "information broker," which was relatively rare in the past.

It should be pointed out that the previous practices of Capvision are also an unethical behavior that disrupts market order. It attracted customers and achieved rapid expansion by providing illegal "sensitive information" as bait through murky ways and even illegal means. This not only leads to unfair competition with other legally operating companies in the industry, but also tends to encourage other companies to follow suit, thus creating vicious competition and enlarging security vulnerabilities. Stopping such illegal behavior in a timely manner is actually protecting the whole industry, with the aim of creating a favorable and healthy market environment and allowing more companies to participate in fair competition.

From any perspective, the investigation initiated by China is reasonable and in accordance with the law, and the results are positive. However, it seems to have made some people feel uncomfortable. The most intense emotions come from some media in the US and the West, who are using this case to launch a collective attack on China's revision of its anti-espionage law. This is a blatant political malice. They are trying to stir up an abnormal "sense of insecurity" toward the Chinese market among foreign enterprises and wantonly discrediting China's investment environment. It can be seen that whenever China takes actions to crack down on espionage activities in the country, these people show abnormal nervousness and uneasiness. What this indicates is self-evident.

Ironically, also in recent days, the governor of Florida in the US signed three bills to restrict Chinese people's activities, including prohibiting them from purchasing land in the state, solely out of groundless "concerns." This is a microcosm of various absurd "security measures" in the US in recent years. It seems that the US public opinion not only plays double standards well but also is deeply familiar with using "national security" as an excuse to attack legitimate business practices. Therefore, as soon as they see "national security," they reflexively associate it with "suppression."

At the same time, they never mention that introducing an anti-espionage law is an international standard. Last year, the UK significantly overhauled its espionage law to combat cyberattacks and espionage. Previously, some German political scientist also said that compared to the US, China's formulation of the anti-espionage law was nearly a hundred years late. Why is the implementation of anti-espionage law in their own country simply the "rule of law," while improving the anti-espionage law in China could "hinder foreign companies from investing in China?" Apart from habitual arrogance and double standards, this is also cooperating with the "decoupling" campaign. 

In fact, this rhetoric doesn't hold water at all. For foreign enterprises, they seek profits and investment returns in China and share dividends of China's high-speed growth. They don't come to China to act as spies. Given this, what does China's improvement of the anti-espionage law have to do with foreign businesses and investments? There are provisions for the death penalty in China's Criminal Law, but foreign businesses and investors are not afraid of this. If you come to China to traffic drugs, of course, there is a risk of the death penalty, and you will worry about being shot. This is not complicated. 

According to foreign media reports, China's recent actions "send a very complex signal," and some analysis hypes that this sent "a chill through the foreign business community." We think that this is a manifestation of guilty conscience. However, the chill in their hearts cannot invade the reality of "warmth." According to data released on May 9, the total value of China's imports and exports in the first four months of this year increased by 5.8 percent year-on-year. Foreign investments in China have also continued to grow. The general public has sharp eyes.