Chinese General Details Spying by Top Communist Party Officials

By Helena Zhu, Epoch Times
September 1, 2011 8:14 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 3:46 pm
LEAKED: Jin Yinan, a major general at China's National Defense University, leaked details of eight Chinese communist officials who had spied for foreign countries; a phenomenon that Chinese commentators say shows the weakness of the regime. (Youtube.com)
LEAKED: Jin Yinan, a major general at China's National Defense University, leaked details of eight Chinese communist officials who had spied for foreign countries; a phenomenon that Chinese commentators say shows the weakness of the regime. (Youtube.com)

A video of a Chinese general discussing his latest history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was recently leaked onto Chinese video-sharing websites and 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 CCP officials who spied for foreign intelligence services.

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 17.

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 ranking officials 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.

Jin advanced the cases of three military officers as examples of morality and politics. He said he was the first Chinese official to discuss their espionage.

One 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 intelligence.”

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 Chinese officials were after.

“It 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 the officials 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 system.”

According to Chen, Jin has a contradictory desire. He wants to restore the value of the communist system, but the reality is that officials “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.”

Chen noted 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 Chinese officials 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.

Leaked Video Names Chinese Officials Spying for Foreign Governments (NTD Television)