Chinese General Details Spying by Top Communist Party Officials
A video of a Chinese general discussing the latest history of the Chinese
Communist Party (CCP) was recently leaked onto Chinese video-sharing websites and it
became an instant sensation. Viewers were not drawn to the two hours plus in
which the general regurgitated standard lines
of official propaganda, but to the final, shocking 10 minutes—a candid
discussion of eight senior CCPofficials who spied for foreign intelligence
The video, which appears to have been professionally made,
features Maj. Gen. Jin Yinan of China’s National Defense University speaking
about his recently published “Miserable Glory.” According to employees of China
Life, the speech was given at the insurer’s Beijing headquarters on March
The speech took its unexpected turn as Gen. Jin commented on how
“everybody wants to get rich first.”
He then discussed what he called
“large-scale espionage” involving “degenerate Communist Party officials.” Jin
noted that some of the espionage cases were treated as corruption cases so that
the CCP could save face, and some, while previously reported elsewhere in the
world, had never been publicly discussed in China before.
Jin’s list of
spies included Kang Rixin, former head of China’s nuclear power program, who was
sentenced to life in prison for corruption last November. As a member of the
Chinese Communist Party’s powerful Central Committee, Kang was one of the
highest rankingofficials ever to be involved in espionage, Jin said.
“The Party center became very nervous,” he said. “They ordered
top-to-bottom inspections and spared nobody.”
Li Bin, China’s former
ambassador to South Korea, had been discovered passing intelligence to South
Korea that compromised the Chinese regime’s position in the North Korean nuclear
disarmament talks. Yet, instead of being convicted of espionage, Jin said he was
in prison for trumped-up corruption charges.
“That’s a huge scandal,” Jin
said. “Li Bin could only be sentenced to seven, eight years instead of a longer
term. Why? To save face. All over the world, which nation’s ambassador serves as
another country’s spy? Nobody, only us.”
Jin also spoke about Tong
Daning, an official from China’s social security fund. Jin said Tong was
executed in 2006 after being convicted on charges of spying for rival Taiwan,
explaining that he had passed currency
secrets to the island’s leaders, allowing them to avoid massive losses caused by
exchange rate changes.
the cases of three military officers as examples of morality and politics. He
said he was the first Chinese official to discuss their espionage.
of the three officers was Col. Xu Junping, who defected to the United States in
2000. Even though he did not release any technical secrets, Xu, who Jin said was
extremely close to China’s top military brass, shared with the Americans his
knowledge of the military leadership’s personalities, decision-making habits,
and routines—information that Jin referred to as “the most vital
A Failing System
While all of the spies were paid, Hu Ping, exiled political commentator and
editor-in-chief of the New York-based, pro-democracy journal Beijing Spring,
said money was not the only thing the Chineseofficials were after.
is also possible that they do not agree with what the Chinese regime does,” he
said in a phone interview. “Ever since the Tiananmen Square Massacre, there have
been an increasing number of such cases, because theofficials themselves
realized what the Party does is too ridiculous.”
“We could compare the
phenomenon with what is happening in Libya. Even though many foreign diplomats
have escaped and defected, nobody blames them. When the [Chinese]officials have
the intelligence and have the opportunity to offer information, they would do
it. If they were after money, they would have just embezzled money—that way they
could get more.”
Chen Kai, a former Chinese basketball star now turned
into an L.A.-based democracy activist, said the recording reveals more about the
weaknesses of the communist system than the specific espionage cases.
“He is talking about how people are losing faith in the system,” he
said. “People are feeling alienated and not wanting to defend the
According to Chen, Jin has a contradictory desire. He wants to
restore the value of the communist system, but the reality is thatofficials
“feel no value in the system.”
“All the people in the officialdom are in
a precarious situation,” Chen said. “You either screw others or get screwed by
other people. In this sense, spying for money or for revenge is not a surprise.
It is necessary, because these people who spy for other countries have been
screwed in the system. They don’t feel any remorse morally.”
that officials in the system are starting to abandon it, sending their children
and their money overseas. A July 26, 2011, People’s Daily article reported that
more than 4,000 Chineseofficials have fled China, taking with them tens of
billions of dollars.
As for the leaked video, as of Tuesday it had been
deleted from Chinese video-sharing websites, but remained on YouTube. Despite
the fuss on the Internet about the video, the Chinese regime has remained quiet
with no statement from the ministries of defense or foreign affairs.
While all of the state-owned media passed on the news as if nothing had
happened, screenshots, audio files, and transcripts of Jin’s remarks could still
be found on websites such as Sina Weibo, the microblogging service that became
popular after the Chinese regime banned Twitter.