Chinese state security authority warns of ‘network espionage traps’; government employee sentenced to 10 years for spying
Published: May 31, 2024 02:31 PM
espionage activities


China's Ministry of State Security on Friday unveiled a case involving a former government employee who was lured by a foreign intelligence agency through the internet, stealing secrets for money. The individual was sentenced to 10 years in prison lawfully.

The rapid development of information technology has brought convenience to people, but it has also brought new dangers around us. From several cases cracked down by national security authorities, foreign intelligence agencies have been using the internet to steal secrets from China by using "phishing" tricks, posing a serious threat to the national security, the ministry said in an article released on Friday.

The national security authorities also warn people not to fall into the "network espionage traps" set by foreign intelligence agencies.

The former Chinese government employee, surnamed He, was under economic pressure due to debt, who logged onto a foreign website and joined various groups to seek money-making opportunities. Through online chatting, He met a person named Xiao Jing who claimed to be from a research institution. Upon knowing about He's financial situation, Xiao Jing offered to help He make extra money by providing internal information from the government agency.

He was engaging in unethical behavior by copying and storing confidential materials from the government agency He worked for, and sending them to Xiao Jing in exchange for rewards.

After investigation, it was found that He had illegally provided nearly 30 confidential documents overseas and made more than 60,000 yuan ($8,287). Xiao Jing was actually a spy working for a foreign intelligence agency. In June 2022, He was arrested on suspicion of "stealing and illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities" and was sentenced to 10 years in prison lawfully, said the ministry.

The ministry also warned that overseas intelligence agencies and their agents use fake online identities to deceive individuals and gain access to national secrets or sensitive information. They post fake job opportunities or friendship requests on social networking sites or job search websites to lure their targets. Common fake identities include journalists, researchers, technical developers, consultants and businessmen.

The state security authorities also remind people to avoid falling into "online espionage traps," enhancing awareness of cybersecurity and maintaining a cautious attitude.

China's Counter-Espionage Law stipulates that activities that endanger national security, which are carried out, prompted, or funded by an espionage organization and its agents, or colluded with by domestic or foreign institutions, organizations, or individuals, constitute espionage activities.

Global Times