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China offers $72,400 for spy spotters

Beijing is to offering a reward of up to 500,000 yuan (around $72,476) to citizens who blow the whistle on suspected spies.

Beijing Municipality's National Security Bureau published the new reward scheme on Monday when it took effect to encourage the public to report any suspicious espionage activities. The payment for the tipsters is between 10,000 and 500,000yuan.

According to the bureau, espionage activities include working for foreign espionage organizations in any capacity, or accepting tasks from such organizations.

Incidents in which overseas institutions, organizations or individuals obtain State secrets through their own prying are also espionage activities, the notice said.

While the government will protect the security of the whistle-blowers, those who intentionally give inaccurate or misleading information will be held legally accountable.

The bureau said the new policy was made because Beijing is the top destination for spies who want to infiltrate, subvert, split or sabotage China.

Officials say the “pressing” need for new measures to guard against foreign spies is an unfortunate side-effect of China’s reform and opening up to the world.

The government has acquired new powers to safeguard China with a national security law passed in 2014, followed by measures on counter-terrorism, the management of foreign non-government bodies and cyber security.

In April last year, China launched a series of warnings against espionage, highlighting how romantic relationships may be used to uncover sensitive information.

Working with employees of state organizations to harm China’s national interests, encouraging defection and buying state secrets are potential spy behaviors, Beijing Daily newspaper said yesterday.

A fishermen in east China’s coastal Jiangsu Province reportedly received rewards in January for the discovery of a suspicious device that proved to be collecting data for foreign countries.

 


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