by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 22, 2017
China on Monday defended its right to investigate actions threatening national security but declined to comment on a report that authorities killed or jailed up to 20 CIA sources.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that Beijing had systematically dismantled CIA spying operations in China beginning in late 2010, in one of the worst US intelligence breaches in decades.
At least a dozen Central Intelligence Agency sources were killed between late 2010 and the end of 2012, including one who was shot in front of colleagues in a clear warning to anyone else who might be spying, the Times reported, citing 10 current and former US officials.
In all, 18 to 20 CIA sources in China were either killed or imprisoned, according to two former senior American officials quoted.
The paper called it a grave setback to a network that, up to then, had been working at its highest level for years.
"As for as the situation mentioned in the New York Times report, I'm not aware of that but I can tell you that Chinese security authorities are following their legal mandate to carry out investigations about organisations, personnel and actions that harm Chinese national security and interests," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing.
"For these normal discharges of official duties by Chinese security organisations we have no comment on that," she said.
The Global Times, a state-run newspaper, said the authenticity of the Times report "remains unknown".
But it added, "if this article is telling the truth, we would like to applaud China's anti-espionage activities".
"Not only was the CIA's spy network dismantled, but Washington had no idea what happened and which part of the spy network had gone wrong. It can be taken as a sweeping victory," the nationalist daily said.
Six more Japanese detained in China
Relations between the two nations have been marred by several irritants, including a maritime territorial dispute and lingering tensions over Tokyo's history of aggression in the first half of the 20th century.
China had already detained five other Japanese citizens since 2015, largely on suspicion of spying.
Four of them have been brought before criminal courts, according to the Asahi Shimbun daily.
Six other men -- three in Shandong province and three in Hainan province -- were detained in March, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a regular press conference.
Citing "the nature of the issue", he offered few details.
"We've been notified by the Chinese authorities that they violated domestic laws," he said, adding the government is "discussing the issue through our diplomatic missions abroad".
Suga did not answer when asked whether Tokyo had protested to Beijing over the issue.
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the six were being investigated and Japanese consular officials had been notified.
"Chinese authorities have been investigating illegal activities," she said, declining to provide details and referring journalists to "competent authorities in China".
The latest detentions bring the number of Japanese held in China to 11, a foreign ministry official told AFP.
All six of those held in March were Japanese company officials who visited China after a local company or companies asked them to search for hot springs, public broadcaster NHK and major national dailies reported.
Japanese media speculated that the presence of military ports in both provinces may have caused them to be suspected of trying to access intelligence.
In recent years, Beijing has drafted a series of legislative measures including laws on national security, espionage and cyber-security.
Washington (AFP) May 20, 2017
Beijing systematically dismantled CIA spying efforts in China beginning in 2010, killing or jailing more than a dozen covert sources, in a deep setback to US intelligence there, The New York Times reported Sunday. The Times, quoting 10 current and former American officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades. It said that ... read more
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