‘I did it for the money’: the Chinese spy who gave up state secrets

Catherine Wong
·2-min read

An engineer in central China was jailed for nine months for spying for an unidentified “overseas organisation”, a Chinese television network reported on Saturday on the sixth anniversary of the country’s counter-espionage law.

In an interview with Henan Television, Liu Xin, 40, of Pingdingshan, Henan province, said he was jailed in September 2019 under the 2014 law for passing on state secrets to overseas forces via a man identified only as “Yang”.

Liu said that in late 2018 he was a senior engineer with access to classified information at a company in Pingdingshan, earning about 10,000 yuan a month while friends were taking home up to five times that amount.

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He posted his résumé online hoping to attract job offers and in October 2018, he received an encrypted email from Yang who claimed to work for an overseas start-up company.

Yang offered money for information and in the next three months Liu supplied his new contact with classified data about China’s military and energy sectors, according to the report.

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Liu said he was suspicious of Yang’s identity and knew that the information he had was sensitive, but he decided to pass it on because of the money.

“I didn’t think too much about [Yang’s intentions] ... I did it for the money and didn’t think it could lead to serious consequences. Now I regret it very much,” Liu told Henan Television.

He was arrested before he could hand over about a dozen documents containing highly classified information in return for 60,000 yuan, the report said, without specifying the date of Liu’s arrest.

A state security officer was quoted as saying that Liu provided information about the construction and operations of Chinese energy facilities he obtained through his work and restricted internal publications.

“I started by studying relevant information through some magazines and I also obtained more information through my business trips,” Liu said.

The report said it was later revealed that Yang did not work for a start-up company as he claimed, but for an unidentified overseas organisation.

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