On August 11th, China’s security agency announced that it had unmasked a CIA spy ring stealing China’s military intelligence. According to the report, the suspect was an employee of a Chinese state-owned defense corporation who had gained access to classified information. During the period the suspect was studying abroad in Italy, a CIA agent in its Rome Station approached and recruited him. Upon returning to China, the suspect provided critical intelligence to the CIA multiple times for monetary reward. The suspect has now been held in custody.
The news article was published by the social media account of China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS). The account was created only two weeks before, marking the first public appearance of the MSS on China’s internet. Its first post on social media was titled “Mobilizing the Whole Society for Counterintelligence Efforts”, echoing China’s recently revised Counter-Espionage Law.
Additionally, Chinese netizens find more implicit undertones within this announcement. First, it’s exceptionally rare for Chinese news media to explicitly name a specific foreign agency, such as the CIA. This explicit mention has evoked a sense of urgency among many, suggesting that China is facing a direct threat of infiltration by the United States, rather than a more generalized “West” or “foreign power”. Also, many people connect the news to the prior statement made by CIA Director William J. Burns, who said in public that the CIA has “made progress” in rebuilding its spy networks in China. Online discussions have now depicted the bust of this spy ring as not only a retaliation against the US’s aggressive move, but also a slap in the face to the Americans.
Source: China Academy