Chinese state-run media Global Times on Nov. 27 released a court video that purportedly proves a self-claimed Chinese spy seeking refuge in Australia is a “fraudster” and a “criminal at large.”
Last week, Wang Liqiang, who claims to have been a spy for the Chinese regime, made international headlines after he handed Australia’s top intelligence agency details of Beijing’s political interference in Hong Kong and Australia, as well as election meddling on the self-ruled island of Taiwan.
Wang’s claims align with longstanding allegations about the Chinese Communist Party’s growing infiltration overseas through its front groups.
Following the revelations, Taiwan authorities began an investigation into two business executives of the Hong Kong-based China Innovation Investment Limited (CIIL), both of whom were named by Wang as Chinese intelligence agents.
Wang is currently in a secure location in Sydney with his wife and their young son, while the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation investigates his claims.
The Chinese regime has denied Wang’s claims, with Shanghai police claiming he’s an unemployed man who was convicted of fraud in 2016. Police said he’s currently wanted on additional fraud charges, and that he fled China on a forged passport and a fake Hong Kong resident document.
The unverified video from the Global Times is said to be from October 2016 and shows a man who identifies himself as Wang giving a confession in a Fujian court. The man, who allegedly netted 120,000 yuan ($17,057) through a fraud scheme, said he “had poor legal awareness” and “hoped the court could handle it with leniency.” The judge then sentenced him to a year and three months in jail.
“All kinds of authoritative information have proved that Wang Liqiang is only a serial fraudster who mouths off nonsense and reverses black and white,” the article stated.
The two-and-a-half minute video showed the man’s back for the most part and only briefly showed him from the front toward the end, as he stood up to leave the courtroom. The man’s face isn’t clearly visible.
Wang’s lawyer told The Guardian that he denies the police’s claims; Wang’s wife told The Epoch Times that the video is fake.
“This is not the first or second time that the Chinese Communist Party has fabricated things,” she said over the phone. “If it is real, how come they didn’t bring it out a few days before?”
“This is just to patch up the lie they concocted.”
Accounts of Wang in Chinese state media have also contained inconsistencies.
The Nov. 27 Global Times article claimed that Wang was still a university student in 2016, yet in a separate article three days earlier, the newspaper said Wang graduated in 2015.
Executives Investigated in Taiwan
On Nov. 24, Xiang Xin and his wife, Kung Ching, CIIL’s executive director and alternate director, respectively, were stopped at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei as the two tried to leave the country.
Since then, the couple has been cooperating with Taipei authorities investigating suspected violations of Taiwan’s National Security Act. The pair have also been barred from leaving the island.
Earlier, CIIL issued a statement denying Wang’s claims, saying he was never an employee.
The company on Nov. 8 filed with Hong Kong’s corporate regulator to shut four of its five subsidiaries, all of which were majority-owned, according to investigative journalist Anthony Klan. CIIL had owned those companies for nearly a decade, Klan reported.
In the filings, the four companies had their statuses changed from “active” to “dormant,” Klan said, adding that the signed documents were all written in Chinese, in contrast to most other documents previously filed with the regulator.
In December 2016, Xiang and Kung applied to establish an investment firm in Taiwan with 100 million Taiwan dollars (about $3.28 million), although the Investment Commission denied the request for “national security concerns,” according to a Nov. 25 press release from the commission. Shen Jong-chin, Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs, told local media on Nov. 26 that the decision was largely due to the pair’s close ties to the military.
Chinese media reports from 2008 showed that CIIL entered into several contracts with the state-owned defense corporation Norinco and secured deals on multiple aerospace projects in the mainland. The U.S. administration has imposed sanctions against Norinco for allegedly selling missile technology to Iran.