China has announced that it has taken “compulsory measures” against a Chinese national who was accused of spying for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The alleged spy, identified as Zeng, was a classified person who worked for a military industrial group in China and was offered money and immigration to the US in exchange for sensitive military information.
How Zeng was recruited by the CIA
According to China’s state broadcaster CCTV, Zeng was sent to Italy to pursue further education and while there, became acquainted with a US embassy official. Zeng was then persuaded to sign an espionage agreement with the US and received training before returning to China to carry out espionage activities. CCTV said that Zeng had leaked information related to China’s aerospace industry, military equipment, and national defense construction.
How Zeng was exposed by China
CCTV did not reveal how Zeng was caught by the Chinese authorities, but said that he had confessed to his crimes and expressed remorse. CCTV also showed footage of Zeng being interrogated by the police and admitting that he had betrayed his country and violated his oath. CCTV said that Zeng’s case was a “typical example” of how the US had used various means to infiltrate and sabotage China’s national security.
How China is cracking down on espionage
China has been stepping up its oversight on what it deems espionage activities. Earlier this month, the state security ministry said that the nation should encourage its citizens to join counter-espionage work, including creating channels for individuals to report suspicious activity as well as commending and rewarding them. The ministry said that a system that makes it “normal” for the masses to participate in counter-espionage must be established.
Last month, China introduced an anti-espionage law that bans the transfer of any information related to national security and interests without defining those terms. The new law alarmed the US, while the European Union ambassador to China had said in May that he was not sure if the opening up of the Chinese economy was compatible with the counter-espionage law.
How the US and China are locked in a rivalry
The arrest of Zeng comes amid rising tensions between the US and China over a range of issues, including trade, human rights, technology, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea. The two countries have also accused each other of spying and interfering in each other’s internal affairs. In July, the US charged four Chinese nationals with visa fraud for allegedly lying about their membership in China’s military. In June, the US Senate passed a bill to boost US competitiveness and counter China’s economic and technological rise.