China jails man for espionage over islets disputed with Japan

By REUTERS
April 21, 2016 06:30
1 minute read.

 
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China has jailed for seven years a man who gave information to an unnamed foreign power about Chinese military and other ships patrolling islets in the East China Sea disputed with Japan, state media said.

The man, named as Chen Wei from the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, was recruited while working overseas, state television said late on Wednesday, in its second report this week on people jailed for security-related crimes.

Chen's recruiter, Ji Tian, whose nationality was not specified, roped him in by initially feigning an interest in Christianity and saying he also wanted to learn Chinese, the report said.

Ji used their growing friendship to ask Chen to take pictures of harbors in Zhejiang - which lies close to the disputed and uninhabited islands, called the Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

Chen was caught in December 2013 after taking pictures of a military base and sentenced to seven years in jail, state television said.

The report did not say when he was sentenced.

China's state secrets law is notoriously broad, covering everything from industry data to the exact birth dates of state leaders. Information can also be labeled a state secret retroactively.

President Xi Jinping has overseen a sweeping revamp of China's security apparatus, aimed at combating both domestic and foreign threats.

But new security laws he has passed, or wants to pass, have alarmed Western governments, including the counterterrorism law and a draft cyber security law, amidst a renewed crackdown on dissent.

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