MSS warns of foreign spy agencies stealing national secrets through 'consulting and investigation'
Published: Mar 28, 2024 02:47 PM
Spy Photo: VCG

Spy Photo: VCG

China's national security agency released a microfilm on Thursday adapted from a real case, revealing how a foreign intelligence agency used investigation and consulting activities as a cover to steal sensitive information from China's key sectors, thus posing a serious risk to national security and interests.

The microfilm depicted the case of a foreign investigation and consulting company, which, under the pretext of assisting a Chinese enterprise investing overseas, conducted a comprehensive investigation, luring company personnel to answer confidential questions, querying confidential information beyond the scope, and filming confidential files of core products. 

Their true aim was to obtain core data and state secrets. If accumulated and analyzed comprehensively, this information can reflect important situations such as sensitive details around China's economy and national defense. 

This makes it an important target for foreign espionage agencies. If leaked, this information will seriously harm our national security, Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) said on Thursday.

"Behind the lucrative rewards lie numerous traps, and beneath the sophisticated questions lurk hidden schemes," MSS noted. 

"The overseas investigation and consulting company's seemingly normal activities were, in reality, on one hand, illegally acquiring our commercial secrets, acting as a 'black hand' for foreign containment and suppression of our advantageous industries. On the other hand, it was probing and stealing our core secrets, acting as an 'accomplice' for foreign intelligence theft and infiltration in important areas," the agency said. 

The illegal investigative activities of the overseas consulting company had long been under China's surveillance. 

At a critical moment, China's national security agency was able to decisively strike and promptly cut off the channel being used for leaking core data to the foreign theft, while obtaining strong evidence of the scheme conducted under the instruction of foreign espionage agencies, effectively safeguarding national security. 

According to the regulations on the management of foreign-related surveys published by the National Bureau of Statistics, foreign-related market surveys must be reported to and approved by survey institutions before being conducted. 

Foreign organizations and individuals are not allowed to conduct market surveys and social surveys directly in China, nor are they allowed to conduct market surveys and social surveys through institutions that have not obtained a foreign-related survey license.

In January, the MSS disclosed a case in which the British Secret Intelligence Service (known as MI6) used a foreign consulting agency personnel from "a third country" to engage in espionage activities against China.

Chinese security analysts have warned of a potential "007-like" scenario in which countries such as the UK, as part of their broader strategy to counter China, have expanded their espionage efforts beyond traditionally targeted areas to include economic, military, scientific, technological, and financial domains.

Global Times