BEIJING: China on Monday (Aug 21) accused a government employee of spying for the United States, the second incident of espionage it has announced in a month.
Beijing implemented a revised anti-espionage law last month that gives authorities more power than ever to punish what they deem to be threats to national security.
The case announced on Monday, which is still under investigation, involves a 39-year-old named Hao who worked for an unspecified ministry, the Ministry of State Security (MSS) said in a statement.
Hao was studying in Japan when he became acquainted with a US embassy employee during a visa application and developed “a close relationship” with him, the ministry said.
The man then introduced Hao to another colleague, an operative of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who persuaded Hao to start spying for the US agency as he was about to return to China, it said.
Hao signed a contract and received US training, before getting a job in government as per his instructions, according to the MSS.
Hao “made several secret contacts with CIA personnel within the country to provide intelligence and collect espionage funds” while working there, before he was found out, the ministry said.
Earlier in August, the MSS published details of what it said was a CIA espionage case involving a 52 year old called Zeng who provided “core secret information” for money.
Zeng had been sent to Italy to study, where he befriended a CIA agent stationed at the US embassy in Rome.
The agent convinced Zeng to provide “sensitive information on the (Chinese) military” in exchange for “a huge amount of compensation” and assistance for Zeng and his family to move to the United States, the MSS said.
Beijing’s recent revision of its anti-espionage law has spooked many US businesses with operations in China as relations between the countries continue their downward spiral.
Under the new law, “relying on espionage organisations and their agents” as well as the unauthorised obtaining of “documents, data, materials, and items related to national security and interests” can constitute a spying offence.