China’s state security agency reveals US espionage case
Published: Oct 22, 2023 11:01 PM
A screen shot of China's Central Television program

A screen shot of China's Central Television program

A concerning espionage case uncovered by Chinese national security organs was revealed through media reports on Sunday, involving a US spy agency's efforts to turn Chinese nationals studying in the US. The case dug out the intelligence informers planted by the US in China's key defense military institutes and eliminated major hidden dangers.

The suspect, surnamed Hou, began providing classified information on China's defense and military industry to the US spy agency from 2013 until he was captured by the Chinese security agencies in 2021.

In January 2013, Hou, as an important personnel member of a Chinese defense industry institute with classified clearance, was sent to be a visiting scholar at public expense at a university in the US. From this moment on, he fell under the sights of a US spy intelligence agency.

"US spy agencies usually use visa information to obtain the curriculum vitaes of Chinese visitors in the US and screen personnel in key departments," a Chinese state security official said.

Just two months after arriving in the country, a a US professor introduced an individual going by "Jacob," who claimed to be working for a consulting company but was actually a member of a US intelligence agency, to Hou.

Jacob gradually developed a close relationship with Hou by treating him to dinner at upscale restaurants and presenting high-priced gifts. In addition, Jacob also asked for Hou's assistance in so-called scientific research consultation, providing a "fee" in return. Hou agreed to this request.

Starting in June 2013, Jacob often asked Hou for advice on scientific research and asked him to help understand the development of relevant fields in China. Hou signed a cooperation agreement with Jacob and accepted remuneration from him.

During a visit by Hou's family to the US in July 2013, Jacob publicly asked Hou to provide more secret information on China's scientific research and development, and answer the questions of the US spy agency in a question-and-answer format. Hou said he agreed to the request out of concern for his family's safety in the US.

"The questions the US spies asked me to answer were highly professional and highly classified," Hou said, adding that each question-answer session between them lasted at least an hour.

After his studies abroad, Hou returned to China and continued to meet secretly with the US spy, providing a large amount of sensitive government information to the US while collecting payment from US spy intelligence agencies.

During his years as a spy, Hou met more than 20 times with four members of US spy and intelligence agencies and provided a large amount of intelligence information on China's national defense and military industry, including on two top secret issues, which caused serious harm to China's national security and interests.

In July 2021, the Chinese state security organ of Sichuan Province brought criminal compulsory measures against Hou in accordance with the law, waiting for the final case of suspected espionage to be transferred to the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court for prosecution. The case is currently undergoing trial.

The national security agency particularly emphasized in its statement that Chinese citizens abroad should remain vigilant, resist enticements offered by suspicious individuals, and avoid succumbing to temporary gains that may lead to serious consequences, thus preventing themselves from falling into the abyss of criminal activities.

At the same time, China's state security organs have also urged the public to enhance their awareness of prevention and legal awareness, and indicated that any illegal and criminal acts endangering China's national security will be severely punished in accordance with the law.

From urban communities to villages in remote areas in China, officials have been working on the frontlines to fortify national security education among the public, in order to improve public awareness and engagement. Public awareness campaigns were enhanced after a newly revised Counter-Espionage Law came into effect on July 1.

Chinese lawmakers voted to adopt the revised Counter-Espionage Law in April, which came into effect on July 1, as one of the country's measures to safeguard national security in the face of an increasingly complex counter-espionage situation.

Currently, the actions of foreign espionage forces, led by the US, have become increasingly rampant, reaching new heights. This trend will continue or even intensify for a long time in the future, Li Wei, a researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a leading research institution on national security, told the Global Times.

"Relying solely on professional counter-espionage police is no longer sufficient to cope with the current situation. Therefore, we need to seek the support of the public and encourage them to provide more clues," Li added.

Global Times