By Mei Jingya, Sina English
Reports about a former security guard of the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou spying for China have been making headlines in the last couple of days.
Bryan Underwood, an ex-security guard at the construction site of the Guangzhou’s new consulate was charged of selling the building's security systems to Chinese authorities.
Underwood pleaded guilty Thursday to trying to sell secret photos and other secret information about restricted areas inside the facility to China’s Ministry of State Security.
According to reports, Underwood “lost a substantial amount of money in the stock market" in March, 2011. Then he "devised a plan" to use his advantage in charge of security clearances to gain and, sell information to China's Ministry of State Security for anywhere between US$3 million and US$5 million.
However, Washington has found no evidence that Underwood successfully passed information along to Chinese authorities.
Chinese reports say China didn’t make the deal with Underwood. According to analysts, China’s decline to buy the “secrets” can help enhance mutual trust with the U.S.
Yuan Tiecheng, chairman of China Overseas Risk Control Association, said in an interview with Global Times that the charge looks fishy, because it’s not reasonable that China will spend huge money on such “low-level” information like photographs of the consulate.
Chinese observers say Washington is using the Underwood case as a warning to embassy officials working in foreign countries as well as renewing the “China threat” theory.