US$73,000 offer to expose foreign spies

2017-04-10 23:53:25 GMT2017-04-11 07:53:25(Beijing Time) Agencies

CHINA’S capital is stepping up a campaign against foreign espionage, offering rewards ranging from US$1,500 to US$73,000 to citizens who blow the whistle on suspected spies.

The “pressing” need for new measures to guard against foreign spies is an unfortunate side-effect of China’s reform and opening up to the world, the official Beijing Daily newspaper said yesterday.

“Foreign intelligence organs and other hostile forces have also seized the opportunity to sabotage our country through political infiltration, division and subversion, stealing secrets and collusion,” it added.

The Beijing City National Security Bureau is encouraging citizens to join counterintelligence efforts, by offering rewards of 10,000 yuan (US$1,500) to 500,000 yuan for information on spies, it said.

The government has acquired new powers to safeguard China with a national security law passed in 2014, followed by measures on counter-terrorism, the management of foreign non-government bodies and cyber security.

In April last year, China launched a series of warnings against espionage, publicizing rare details of spy cases in state media, and highlighting how romantic relationships may be used to uncover sensitive information.

Working with employees of state organizations to harm China’s national interests, encouraging defection and buying state secrets are potential spy behaviors that could be reported, the newspaper said.

Discovering espionage equipment, such as recording and monitoring devices, could bring extra rewards.

For example, fishermen in east China’s coastal Jiangsu Province received rewards in January for the discovery of a suspicious device that proved to be collecting data for foreign countries.

People exploiting the new measures to frame rivals will be held accountable, the paper warned, but good faith errors would attract no reprisals.

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