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CCTV Reports on Chinese Civilians Caught Spying For Foreign Agencies

Posted: 11/24/2014 10:00 am

China’s state broadcaster, China Central Television (CCTV), has reported detailed accounts of Chinese nationals arrested after being caught spying for foreign intelligence agencies.

The CCTV report did not specify how many civilians were arrested, or the foreign agencies they were allegedly working for. It did however include four Chinese nationals from Shandong, Hainan, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces that have been arrested this year for leaking military intelligence.

According to a counter-espionage officer from China’s Ministry of State Security, there is an increasing number of young Chinese men turning on their country to work for foreign spy agencies. Invariably, these “jobs” can be found on job-hunting websites by companies claiming to be consulting firms, research companies, and in one case, even a military magazine.

In April of this year, a Chinese man surnamed Cao was arrested in Qinghai, Shandong Province after he was caught spying at a navy base in the city and sending sensitive military information including photos of the base to a foreign “military magazine editor” the report said, citing an officer from Qingdao’s State Security Bureau. The editor also provided him with high-spec binoculars, cameras and other equipment in order to take high-resolution images of the base. Another three suspects from Anhui, Hainan and Zhejiang provinces were also arrested on the same charge, the report said.

The report states that these four are by no means isolated cases. In August, a Chinese graduate student, surnamed Chang, was arrested in Harbin for sending more than 100 classified intelligence documents over the course of two years to foreigners, China’s state agency Xinhua reported. The student was paid $32,000 by several foreign individuals. Another Guangdong resident was sentenced to 10 years for selling sensitive military information to a suspected spy named Feige, or flying brother in Chinese.

High-ranking officials have also been caught in the act. In September, the Chinese Ambassador to Iceland, Ma Jisheng, was arrested on suspicion of spying for Japan. In 2007, the Chinese Ambassador to South Korea was arrested for spying for Seoul.

In November, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed the new Counter Espionage Law, reaffirming the country’s commitment to root out foreign and domestic spies; all part of Xi’s “China Dream” narrative based on unity and patriotism. With an increasing number of Chinese willing to risk their lives spying for foreign intelligence, he certainly has his work cut out for him.

Photos: Reuters; insiberia  


Chinese Government Says “No” to Samsung Phones

Posted: 10/8/2014 9:49 am

samsung phoneChina smartphone maker Huawei looks to become the official phone of China as first Apple, and now Samsung, have been banned for use by government officials.

Like Apple’s iPhone that was banned last August, the Chinese government is citing security concerns with Samsung phones, reports Phone Arena. The ban gives a boost to local phone makers such as Huawei and Xiaomi.

Long accused of spying for the Chinese government, Huawei has also been the victim of spying from the US National Security Association (NSA). The details were revealed by former NSA contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden, reported PC World.

Meanwhile, Taiwan is considering banning Xiaomi phones after a Finnish security company showed the company’s phones were surreptitiously collecting and sending address book contacts, reported Reuters. Xiaomi has also been accused by the Hong Kong media of sending copies of text messages to the mainland, an accusation it denies.

A shift away from Western-developed technology seems to be widening in China. The ban on Apple and Samsung smartphones for official use follows the ban on Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system at a time when China is busy developing its own Linux-based operating system.

Photo: Candou


Former TV Host Rui Chenggang Faces Spying Accusations, Broke Down In Tears

Posted: 09/19/2014 1:21 pm

rui chenggang

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily has published a sensational story today on Rui Chenggang, the disgraced former presenter at CCTV, claiming he divulged state secrets to foreign spy agencies and tried to smear the upper echelon of the Communist Party, among other scandalous claims. Rui was taken away by police in July this year.

Rui was a business anchor on CCTV famous for forcing Starbucks to exit the Forbidden City in 2006. According to the report, which cites a source from the disciplinary committee of the Chinese Communist Party, Rui reportedly cried at his interrogation earlier this year after being arrested, claiming he was a victim under the control of others.

Rui claims former President Hu Jintao’s former personal secretary, Ling Jihua, schemed to have his wife, Gu Liping, rape him to force Rui to establish a special relationship with her. Gu is 20 years older than Rui, and was said to have had a previous relationship with Rui in the mold of an ”older sister-younger brother”. Through his special relationship with Gu, Rui became a member of Ling’s inner clique. This is how Rui attained classified information on the government and economy.

Some suspect Ling himself is the focus of a graft investigation.

Rui admitted his criticisms of the west and patriotic diatribes were mean to be his “umbrella of protection” so he could stay in the good graces of the public and government. However, Rui is said to have shared Chinese secrets with a western agency that Chinese authorities accuse of conducting espionage.

Boxun, an overseas website that often publishes questionable information, said Rui had provided material to western reporters located in China that attempted to defame Xi Jinping and Wen Jiabao two years ago.

Rui has been very high profile, both in China and abroad. We reported earlier how Rui drew attention for his behavior in South Korea:

At a 2009 press conference with US President Barack Obama, Rui volunteered himself when the US President was instead seeking a question from the Korean press. As Rui explained at the time, “Unfortunately, I hate to disappoint you, President Obama, I’m actually Chinese. But I think I get to represent the entireAsia, part of the family on this side of the world.” and for arrogantly taking the floor to ask US President Barack Obama.

At their peak, Rui’s shows were watched by 300 million people each night.

Photo: wapvnet


Canadian Couple Charged With Spying Were Working as Missionaries

Posted: 08/7/2014 10:35 am

kevin garrattA Canadian couple charged with stealing military secrets from China may have been arrested because of their missionary work.

Kevin and Julia Ann Garratt were operating a coffee house in Dandong, Liaoning when they were detained by Chinese authorities on Tuesday. While the Chinese media have been very quiet on the story, western media have revealed Kevin Garratt was involved with training missionaries that were sent to nearby North Korea.

Kevin Garratt performed a sermon that was later put on the website for the Terra Nova Church, reports Reuters. In the recording, Garratt could be heard addressing a South Korean-Canadian church saying:

All these people could’ve stayed in China, where it’s easier, where they could eat three meals a day, but they chose to go back – everyone of them. And 99 percent of the people we meet go back to North Korea, because they have to preach the gospel in North Korea – they have to. Because God’s compelled them to go.

While religious groups operate in China in the form of underground churches and Bible study groups, they are tolerated by authorities. However, religion is outright banned in North Korea where proselytizing is severely punished.

And yet, Garratt seemed to accept the risks involved. In his address last year, he said:

North Korea, as you know, is very oppressive, it’s very challenging, they desperately need hope and we get this very special privilege of working with some of these incredible people in North Korea.

As reported in the Globe and Mail, it may make sense for the Chinese government to close down cafes if missionaries were “a big annoyance of a good friend of yours and it wasn’t that big of a deal to you,” one source said.

Photo: Globe and Mail


Two Canadians On Trial In China For Stealing Military Secrets

Posted: 08/5/2014 10:31 am

kevin garrattTwo Canadians are currently on trial in China for stealing military secrets and national defense research from the country. Kevin Garratt and Julia Dawn Garratt are currently being tried by a Chinese court overseen by the National Defense Department, reports the China Daily. Both have been called ”Canadian spies”.

Kevin Garratt, 53, and his wife Julia Dawn are originally from Vancouver. They first came to China in 1984 when they taught English in the country’s south before opening a coffee shop called Peter’s Coffee House in Dandong, Liaoning Province in 2008. As Dandong is near the North Korean border, the pair helped arrange tours for people traveling along the Yalu River.

According to Canada’s national newspaper, the Garratts are now missing, and all attempts to contact them at their coffee shop have failed.

The arrests come at a critical time when accusations of spying are flying between the two countries. Just last week, the Canadian Treasury Board said the Canadian National Research Council’s computer infrastructure was hacked into by a “Chinese state-sponsored actor”.


Photo: The Globe and Mail


Canadian Living in Shenzhen Jailed, Accused of Espionage

Posted: 06/11/2014 1:21 pm

ryan collins canadian espionage charges shenzhenA Canadian man living in Shenzhen claims that he was wrongfully jailed for refusing to spy on the Canadian government in what CityNews, a Canadian broadcaster, describes as a ”disturbing government secret”.

Ryan Collins moved to Shenzhen in 2010 and began working as a freelance computer repairman. Recently, the owner of a software company offered him a proposal.

“He had asked me to get into the Canadian government via a software program, paired with hardware which would be used by the Chinese government through this individual and his company to commit espionage in Canada,” said Collins.

When Collins realized the magnitude of what was being asked of him, he rejected the offer and tried to end his relationship with this individual. However, Collins said he was arrested for espionage and taken to prison where he was allegedly beaten.

ryan collins canadian espionage charges shenzhen

“What I uncovered is something I never asked to see,” Collins said, “I was framed for crimes that I did not commit because of what I had seen and what I was asked to do.”

After spending eight days in prison, Collins was finally released after his family paid a fine worth approximately CAD$1,000.

Collins is currently at a safehouse in Hong Kong and says that his bank account has been frozen. His family is currently trying to get the proper funds to buy Collins an airplane ticket home.

“The last few weeks of my life have been like a movie. It’s like something you’d see in Hollywood,” he said.

Collins said threats upon his life continue to be made. “I was told very early that [the owner] could come to my house and put a bullet in my brain and nobody would care and nobody would know.”

According to CityNews, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirms it has been in contact with the Canadian consulate regarding a Canadian citizen over a recent matter, but it did not identify the individual.

ryan collins canadian espionage charges shenzhen


Photo: CityTV News screencaps


Guangdong Man Jailed Ten Years for Spying Via Internet Browser

Posted: 05/6/2014 10:11 am

Holy crap: anything that you see and watch can get you in trouble in China. Even if it is non-privileged information. Even if it is your own information.

A Guangdong national surnamed Li has been convicted of espionage and sentenced to 10 years in prison for disclosing state secrets to a foreign spy, reported state media.

When we first heard this story we didn’t think too much of it. After all, we expats are having too much fun to be concerned with espionage. But the details of the story started to hit home once it was revealed that the spy material deemed as ”state secrets” came straight from the internet.

This is how the spooks worked: a foreign spy only known by the online handle “Feige”, (“Brother Fly”?) had Li funnel him military information taken from subscriptions to websites such as a military enthusiasts community accessible only from mainland China. In all, Feige organized 12 people in Guangdong and some 40 other people throughout China to gather this information for him.

If you thought espionage was performed by the likes of James Bond or Jason Bourne you’d be grossly inaccurate. Feige’s online operation of a human RSS feed was termed a “foreign spy ring” by China Daily.

Just by using the internet, Li was able to obtain 13 highly classified documents ranked at the second-highest tier of secrecy in China, and 10 classified military secrets from the third tier. By standing near military bases with a camera to help Feige monitor them, Li posed “a serious threat to the country’s military security”.

Wow. We’d perhaps suggest not publishing sensitive military information on websites, but then only foreign shows like The Big Bang Theory get banned online.

We’d also suggest that expats not gather sensitive military information when browsing on the internet (stick to porn), nor watch the many fine military-themed shows on Chinese state television that tell us how great the Chinese military is, nor watch locally made versions of Top Gun and Apollo 13 with Chinese characteristics that espouse the greatness of the Chinese air force and space program via a multi-generational family melodrama, nor even to take part in the viral meme of pointing off-screen with your back to the camera that celebrates China’s new aircraft carrier.

And if you thought that paying for privileged information means that you own it, the New York Times reminds us otherwise (emphasis added):

Chinese courts have sometimes ruled that materials readily available within the country can be considered classified. Xue Feng, a Chinese-born American petroleum geologist, was sentenced to an eight-year prison term in 2010 for buying a database that his lawyers said was made secret only after Mr. Xue purchased it for IHS Energy, a consulting firm based in the United States.

For our part, the Nanfang will continue to provide its readership only the best of China’s declassified content.

Photo: Kym-Cdn


China is spying on you through your… kettle?

Posted: 11/11/2013 2:44 pm

What do you like to drink these days as the weather begins to cool off in Guangdong? Tea? Coffee? Whatever caffeine-filled concoctions you’re knocking back each morning, I suggest you start boiling the water in a pot on the stove. Stay away from the kettle. Far away. Better yet, throw it out the window.

Yes, that’s right, your loyal kettle is in fact your worst enemy. Even right now, as you read this on your home Wi-Fi network, it’s storing all your online activity and data in a tiny microchip hidden who knows where — probably in the base.

At least that’s the mad claims made by Russian investigators, and reported by the country’s media, at the end of October when they allegedly discovered as many as 30 China-imported kettles with “spy microchips that send some data to the foreign server”.

Do you need to worry? I should think not. I would be more inclined to point your worries in the direction of China’s air quality, which has again been in the headlines this week after Beijing’s smog levels became so bad as to obstruct security cameras’ visibility — thus putting the country’s very national security at risk, as one publication put it.

Anyway, back to kettles. I always knew they were up to no good.

Photo credit: The Daily Mail

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