Harbin student held on spy charges

2014-08-07 01:41:31 GMT2014-08-07 09:41:31(Beijing Time)  Shanghai Daily
The detained Canadian couple with their son and daughter The detained Canadian couple with their son and daughter

AN aerospace graduate student at Harbin University in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province has been arrested for allegedly leaking state secrets, the latest in a string of espionage cases in the country.

The man, surnamed Chang, is accused of collecting more than 60 items of intelligence and providing them to “foreign individuals” on 54 occasions over nearly two years.

Contact was made through online posts, and Chang was paid about 200,000 yuan (US$32,450), Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

“This case reflects that the black hand of foreign intelligence groups has already extended to university students through the corrosion of the Internet,” Xinhua said.

The arrest comes as officials in the nearby city of Dandong are investigating a Canadian couple who ran a coffee shop on the Chinese border with North Korea for suspected theft of military and intelligence information and for threatening national security.

There was no indication of any connection between the two cases.

Xinhua said Chang was given money to travel abroad and to the southern island province of Hainan, where he took “sensitive military images” and transmitted them overseas.

The student was fully aware of the criminal nature of his actions, but was “unable to resist the temptation of the money,” the report said.

The crimes represented a “serious threat to China’s national security,” it said, adding that Chang expressed regret for his actions.

In May, a court handed a 10-year prison term to a person who leaked secret documents and photographs, including military journals and information about bases, to a foreign spy.

The country’s state secrets law is broad, covering everything from industry data to the birth dates of national leaders. In severe cases, the theft of state secrets is punishable with life in prison or the death penalty.

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