Are you a foreigner in China who likes to meet locals, and have been known to strike up romantic relationships with gifts and flattery? If so, you should know that you are showing the telltale signs of being a spy.
China is beefing up its defenses against foreign espionage, and they’re hoping to raise public awareness of this danger to national security with its first-ever National Security Education Day held last week.
As reported by China Law Translate, one of the propaganda materials released was called “Dangerous Love” that was seen in residential areas of Xicheng, Beijing.
The 16-panel cartoon follows the story of Xiaoli, a Chinese woman who works in an information department of the country’s civil service. Xiaoli is wooed by a foreigner named David who eventually convinces Xiaoli to hand over sensitive material. Police eventually confront Xiaoli with the revelation that David is in fact a spy, and that she herself is guilty of violating Chinese law regarding state secrets.
As with a number of recent Chinese propaganda releases, “Dangerous Love” uses cartoons as a way to make its content and intentions very clear to its readers.
As translated by China Law Translate, here’s the entire poster campaign:
(as seen above)
XIAOLI’s FRIEND: A foreign friend has organized a gathering tonight… You’re always trying to increase your foreign language level, why don’t you go with me?
DAVID: My name is David and I’m a visiting scholar researching issues about China. I’m really interested in chatting with all of you.
DAVID: Everybody please introduce yourself and say a little something about your work. Let’s start with this pretty lady.
XIAOLI: Oh, OK!
XIAOLI: I’m Xiao Li, I just tested into the civil service after graduating college and work in a foreign publicity (propaganda) department.
After that party, David began to meet with Xiao Li often and gave her gifts.
DAVID: You’re pretty, warm, and exceptional. To tell you the truth, I fell for you the first time I saw you.
XIAOLI (thinking to herself): Having a handsome, romantic and talented foreign boyfriend is pretty good!
The two begin a romantic involvement.
DAVID: My dear, what exactly do you do at your work?
XIAO LI: I write internal references as a basis for central policies.
DAVID: Great! Lend me those internal references so I can take a look. This will really help me write academic articles.
XIAO LI: I can’t, we have a confidentiality system.
DAVID: Dear, do you still need to keep secrets from me? I’m just taking a look to use in academic articles.
XIAO LI: Uhh, OK then.
XIAO LI: This is a copy I made, give it back as soon as you’re done.
DAVID: Don’t worry, sweetheart.
XIAOLI: What happened? David hasn’t called me recently, and his phone is always off.
OFFICER: Are you Xiao Li? We’re from the State Administration of National Security. Please come with us.
XIAO LI: What? What’s going on?
OFFICER: David is an overseas spy in China to steal political and military information, and we have already captured him. Did you provide him with these ‘internal references?’
XIAO LI: What?
XIAO LI: I didn’t know he was a spy, he used me!
OFFICER: You show a for a State employee. You are suspected of violating our nation’s law.
A warning from the National Security Organs. According to Chapter 1 on crimes endangering national security, article 111 of the Criminal Law of the P.R.C., whoever steals, secretly gathers, purchases, or illegally provides state secrets or intelligence for an organization, institution, or personnel outside the country is to be sentenced to not less than five years and not more than 10 years of fixed-term imprisonment; when circumstances are particularly serious, he is to be sentenced to not less than 10 years of fixed-term imprisonment, or a life sentence; and when circumstances are relatively minor, he is to be sentenced to not more than five years of fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention, control, or deprivation of political rights.
Article 27 of Chapter IV of the Counter-Espionage Law provides that: where extraterritorial institutions, organizations or individuals carry out, or instigate or financially support others in carrying out espionage activities, or where an institution, organization or individual within the territory linked to a foreign institution, organization or individual conducts espionage activities, and it constitutes a crime, it is pursued for criminal responsibility in accordance with law.
National Security Education Day also saw the following video made by the national PSB in Beijing. The video is in the style of a cartoon that uses depictions of James Bond and Ethan Hunt from Mission: Impossible to illustrate what is and isn’t a spy (no English subtitles).