Added by David Sandercock on July 17, 2012
Reacting to what could certainly be the widest information breach in China in years, the Chinese government detained a security official early this year who is thought of passing important information to the U.S., an individual with knowledge concerning the situation said Friday.
The official is believed to be an employee in the Bureau of State Security, China’s principal intelligence agency. The U.S. and Chinese governments have not given any indication regarding the discovery of the alleged spying suspect.
If the case were to be taken into the open, it could possibly turn into yet another point of friction in a year of sharp diplomatic tensions amongst Washington and Beijing.
Earlier this year, the Communist Party was facing a sensitive moment in China’s relationships with the U.S. In February, a former Chinese police chief went to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu to present documentation linking Bo Xilai, the spouse of a Politburo member, to the slaying last year of a British business person. Wang Lijun, the police chief was escorted to Beijing by authorities with the Ministry of State Security immediately after spending a single night in the consulate.
The vice president and presumed subsequent leader of China, Xi Jinping, launched a prominent five-day goodwill tour of the USA one week later, that was hosted by Vice President Joe Biden.
It is unclear what type of information and facts the detained Chinese representative is speculated of having disclosed to the U.S. and whether or not that information has compromised any type of operations by the Chinese government. Just recently, news regarding the spying suspect’s detention had been circulating, without confirmation, in a few foreign intelligence agencies. A representative for the American Embassy in Beijing declined to comment.
Visiting Oslo on Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, declined to talk about reports of an espionage arrest.
A top administration official, talking on the condition of anonymity due to diplomatic sensitivities, stated the arrest came amid a series of probes started right after the discoveries in the Bo Xilai issue. the official stated the reviews, sanctioned by China’s top leaders, have actually broadened beyond Bo Xilai issue to the Ministry of State Security and now include allegations of improper utilisation of the security services and breach of trust.
It was not clear that the espionage case was related in any way to the other investigations.
The detainee might be charged with breach of faith and given a hearing; the charge carries a maximum punishment of death.
The detention of the official was initially reported by Chinese-language news agency outside the mainland that sometimes disburses rumor as fact. One report stated the suspect was the secretary of a vice minister in the Ministry of State Safety.
The previous instance a similar issue became public was in 1985, when a senior safety official, Yu Qiangsheng, defected and disclosed that a previous employee of the CIA, had actually been selling secrets to the Chinese. Chin killed himself in prison while awaiting sentencing.