China Calls Upon Citizens for Counterintelligence Efforts Amid Escalating Tensions
China Solicits Citizens For Surveillance Goals
In a bid to strengthen national security, the People's Republic of China has called on its citizens to participate in counterintelligence activities. In a recent post on its new WeChat account, the country's Ministry of Public Security proposed a system that would encourage the public to report suspicious activities and hailed those safeguarding national interests.
The Ministry, which oversees the country's principal foreign intelligence and counterintelligence agency, is eager to make spying and surveillance a shared responsibility among its citizens. This move follows the implementation of a revised counter-espionage law that took effect last month.
The revamped legislation prohibits the sharing of information deemed detrimental to national security and interests, although the exact nature of such information remains unspecified. This ambiguous clause has sparked concern in the United States about the potential risks foreign companies may encounter when carrying out routine business activities in China.
As the law currently stands, it empowers Chinese authorities to conduct counterintelligence investigations, which include accessing data, electronic devices, and personal property information.
In an article penned for a Chinese legal magazine last month, Minister of State Security Chen Yixin underscored the primacy of political security within China's national security agenda.
"The most fundamental [goal] is to safeguard the leadership and ruling position of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system with Chinese characteristics," Chen stated.
Over the past few years, numerous Chinese citizens and foreigners have been arrested and detained on espionage charges. This includes an executive from Japanese pharmaceutical firm Astellas Pharma and Australian journalist Cheng Lei, who has been held since September 2020 under accusations of supplying state secrets to another country.
China's call for widespread espionage efforts comes amidst allegations from Western countries, particularly the United States, of Beijing's involvement in espionage and cyberattacks. China’s Foreign Ministry has hit back, labeling the United States as the “empire of hacking”.
According to leaders like Minister Chen, China needs to leverage its populace to establish a formidable line of defense. Echoing similar sentiments, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized the need for the country's armed forces to accelerate modernization on the eve of the 96th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
President Xi urged the military to enhance its combat capability and readiness, as reported by the official Xinhua news agency. "We need to push for new equipment and new forces to accelerate forming combat capabilities and integrate into the combat system," he declared.
Against the backdrop of escalating tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, the South China Sea, and the Taiwan Strait, China has been notably assertive in demonstrating its military prowess. The nation has ramped up drills, announced the imminent sea trials of its most advanced aircraft carrier, and solidified military relations with Russia. With tensions on the rise, China is keen to galvanize its citizens in an all-encompassing drive to fortify national security.