China launches website to get people to report foreign spies

BEIJING: China has stepped up its campaign against foreign espionage with a website in Mandarin and English encouraging people to report national security threats such as bids to "overthrow the socialist system".

The site ( launched by the Ministry of State Security on Sunday also urges anyone to report attempts by Chinese nationals or foreigners to bribe officials, instigate riots or incite ethnic separatism.

Potential problematic behaviour includes foreigners meeting "any person within China who has conducted activities endangering state security or is strongly suspected of doing so" - raising concerns that any interaction with dissidents would be frowned upon.

Informants will be rewarded for finding espionage equipment or for tip-offs on anyone suspected of buying or selling state secrets, said the website.

The website did not offer details on the rewards.

The Beijing City National Security Bureau has been offering 10,000 yuan (S$2,100) to 500,000 yuan for information on spies.

The ministry has also released a cartoon to illustrate possible questionable behaviour, as part of its campaign to mark China's National Security Education Day on April 15.

The cartoon tells the story of a foreigner from an international non-governmental organisation promoting "Western-style" workers' rights in China. The foreigner allegedly bribes a Chinese representative to mobilise workers to protest for their rights.

According to the cartoon, such public protests are illegal and a vigilant worker reports the foreigner behind the unrest.

In 2016, another series of cartoons published by the ministry warned Chinese nationals against entering into romantic relationships with foreigners to safeguard state secrets. - AFP