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Amidst Anti-espionage Campaign, Chinese General Shines a Spotlight on Corrupt CCP Officials

Published: September 12, 2023
In this photograph taken on Aug. 9, 2017 a Chinese traffic policeman walks past the installed facial recognition screen at a road intersection in Shanghai. From toilet-paper dispensers to fast-food restaurants, travel and crime-fighting, China has rolled out facial-recognition technology across the country, however has recently drafted new rules for the technologies’ use. (Image: CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Communist authorities in China have launched a massive anti-espionage campaign, encouraging every citizen to root out spies in the country with the promise of large cash rewards.

On Aug. 1, China’s Ministry of National Security posted to WeChat — a popular social media platform in China with over one billion users — a call for every citizen to be mobilized to catch spies.

“The whole society needs to be mobilized to fight against espionage,” the post says, adding that, “At present, the unprecedented big changes of the century are accelerating. Traditional and non-traditional security threats are intertwined with each other, and the fight against the enemy in the field of counter-espionage is extremely serious. All kinds of espionage activities are more complex, the field is more extensive, the target is more diversified, and the methods are more covert.”

However, while Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities mobilize the public to address espionage, it fails to acknowledge that there is a long history of CCP officials persecuted for sharing state secrets, for profit, with China’s adversaries.  

According to a report by Voice of America on August 29, a Major General in the Chinese military, Jin Yinan, exposed in a closed-door meeting a number of cases of high-ranking officials who have been caught spying for foreign nations, including second-generation reds and diplomatic envoys.

Some are said to have worked for five different foreign intelligence agencies simultaneously while others have been secretly executed for their alleged crimes. 

Public information shows that Jin Yinan, born in 1952, is an expert on military issues, and a major general. He used to be the director of the Institute of Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. 

The case of Tong Daning

Tong Daning is a former Director of the Office of the China Social Security Foundation. He was taken into custody on February 21, 2004 on suspicion of espionage. He was officially arrested on March 26, 2004 and executed on April 21, 2006.

In a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter in late August, the Major General says, “Degenerate communists abound! The Director of the Office of the Social Security Fund, Tong Daning, a man who has been executed, leaked all the documents of the State Office and the Central Office to Taiwan and kept on providing intelligence to Taiwan,” adding that, “He even won the Presidential Award from Taiwan. Because of his disclosure of the change of [the] RMB exchange rate, Taiwan avoided a loss of $200 billion New Taiwan Dollars or over US$6.2 billion, today. Should Taiwan not suffer a loss, it would be our loss!”

Tong also held senior roles at the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Council for Social Security Fund, China’s multibillion-dollar national pension fund.

Cai Xiaohong

Another high-ranking CCP official, referenced by Major General Jin Yinan, is Cai Xiaohong.

In mid-July 2003, Cai Xiaohong, former Secretary General of the Liaison Office of the Central Government of the CCP in Hong Kong, was removed from his post and secretly taken to Beijing.

In 1989, he was transferred to the Hong Kong branch of the Xinhua News Agency from the military-operated media, Liberation Army Daily. He spent 14 years at the Xinhua News Agency up until the time of his arrest.

Yinan says that he would have been arrested in 2003 if it were not for the SARS outbreak, which prevented the Central Organization Department from finding him.

It was discovered that Cai Xiaohong had been supplying the British with confidential information for some time. 

Jin Yinan said, “His father was Cai Cheng, the former Minister of Justice of the State Council and an underground [spy] of our Party under the leadership of Premier Zhou Enlai, but it never occurred to me that his son had become a [spy] of the UK. It happened just that fast.”


The case of Li Bin

Li Bin was the special envoy for Korean Peninsula Affairs. Beijing authorities arrested him in December, 2006 and sentenced him to seven years in prison for economic crimes.

Jin Yinan said that Li Bin received a relatively light sentence because authorities wanted to “save our own face.”

He said, “If you look at the world, in the diplomacy sphere, which country’s ambassador works as a special agent for other countries? It just doesn’t happen. But it happened to us,” adding that,  “During his stay in South Korea, he was the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Korea, and he was roped in to provide information to the other side.”

According to the Major General, Li Bin even supplied confidential information to foreign nations after being promoted to be the Special Envoy for Korean Peninsula Affairs.

Jin Yinan said that many high-ranking officials who were scrutinized were caught ostensibly for corruption, but in fact, the real reason for their arrests was for selling intelligence.

Kang Rixin

Kang Rixin was a member of the CCP Central Committee, a member of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party secretary and General Manager of China National Nuclear Corporation, and fell from grace in 2010.

“He was the only one among the CEOs of the Aerospace, Shipbuilding, and Weapons Groups in our weapon industry to be a formal member of the Central Committee and a member of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection,” Jin Yinan said.

He was expelled from the Central Committee at the Fifth Plenary Session. 

Rumors online say he embezzled amounts ranging from 300 million to two billion, however according to Jin Yinan this is all “nonsense,” adding that, “The truth is the information he sold far exceeds our economic losses.”


Numerous other cases

Lu Jianhua was a member of one of China’s top-level think tanks. He used to provide policy research reports directly to the former CCP leader Hu Jintao. The CCP accused Lu of submitting articles to foreign countries since 2003, 18 of which dealt with the country’s top military secrets. Sources said Beijing’s Second Intermediate Court ordered him to be executed for leaking state secrets, while others said his sentence was 20 years in prison.

Another case is that of Xu Junping, the former Director of the Americas and Oceania of the General Staff Department of the Chinese Communist Military. In December 2000, Xu fled to the US during a delegation visit.

Jin Yinan said that “The intelligence he brought to the Americans isn’t the number of missiles we have, the accuracy of our missiles, or the technical intelligence … It’s the character of our leaders, their decision-making habits and styles,” adding that, “Such info is most critical. A lot of military leaders used to pat him on the shoulder and call him ‘Little Xu’ … because he was very close to those leaders in the Military Commission.”

The former deputy director of China’s Air Force Magazine, Colonel Jia Shiqing, failed to make it as the director of the Air Force Training Department. 

He was transferred to the magazine to be the deputy director. He became disgruntled and started to sell intelligence. He hid the intelligence in a chip, inserted it in his anus, and traveled out of the country several times a month to hand over the information, Jin Yinan claims.

In yet another case, Senior Colonel Wang Qingjian of the Liaison Department of the General Political Department of the Embassy in Japan, in accordance with the Japanese’s requirements, regularly opened the windows to let in Japanese remote detection equipment and also installed bugs in the ambassador’s and military officers’ offices, according to Jin Yinan.