China’s state security authority unveils details of college student pretending to turn himself in
Published: Jun 11, 2024 07:29 PM
Spy Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China’s Ministry of State Security on Tuesday unveiled a spy case in which a college student joined a foreign intelligence agency and then pretended to turn himself in, but was ultimately discovered by the national security authorities. The college student received a lenient punishment for his full confession and providing valuable counter-espionage leads, according to the ministry.

In June 2023, the national security agencies received a suspicious call from a college student claiming to have been targeted by a foreign intelligence agency. The student said that he refused to provide classified documents to the agency but then contacted them to deceive funds, in order to assist the national security organs in “arresting spies,” according to the ministry.

Despite having doubts as to why the student was targeted, and how he established contact with the foreign agents, national security officers still upheld a responsible attitude toward the reported tipoff, meeting with the informant and inquiring about the situation in detail in timely manner. 

During the conversation, the informant was contradictory when discussing being contacted by foreign spies and deceived for funds. When asked about the process and details, the informant often dodged the questions and even tried to find out if the national security agencies had other detail related to the case, revealing his guilty conscious.

After investigation, national security agencies found that the informant, He, was a college student who had spent his own money extravagantly, leading to heavy debt. In order to make money and cover his losses, He decided to actively collaborate with foreign intelligence agencies to sell state secrets. 

He used a foreign social media platform to establish contact with foreign intelligence personnel. Under their direction, He illegally took photos close to the military areas for multiple times and gathered classified information. In return he received payment.

He knew that his actions constituted espionage activities that endangered national security, and he was very anxious and fearful. He then pretended to turn himself in to deceive national security agencies and gather information on the evidence they had against him, according to the ministry.

The state security agencies educated He on the errors of his actions. He realized his mistake and expressed deep regret, confessing details of his actions with foreign intelligence personnel. As a result, the state security agencies were able to uncover a major espionage case. He was given a lenient punishment for fully confessing, and providing valuable counter-espionage leads, said the ministry.

China’s Counter-Espionage Law stipulates that individuals who engage in espionage activities turn themselves in or make meritorious services may receive lenient, or reduced punishment. Those with significant meritorious performance may be rewarded.

According to the measures on rewarding citizens for reporting conduct endangering national security released in June 2022 by the national security authorities, individuals who maliciously report or create disturbances in the excuse of reporting, thereby interfering with the work of national security agencies, shall be dealt with according to law. If their actions constitute a crime, they will be held criminally responsible.

Global Times