Germany Indicts Man for Spying on Falun Gong

February 2, 2011 9:22 pm Last Updated: September 29, 2015 6:04 pm

Wu Wenxin thought there was something unusual about the way John Z., a man recently indicted for spying for the Chinese secret police, often behaved. At large-scale meetings, for example, while most Falun Gong practitioners sat and listened with interest to the experiences of other adherents, Mr. Z. would be outside, talking to as many people as possible.

“Now I suspect that, possibly, he was doing this to collect information for a report,” Mr. Wu, the head of the German Falun Dafa Association [also known as Falun Gong], said in a telephone interview with The Epoch Times. “Normally a Falun Gong cultivator, when participating in a Fa conference, will generally want to listen to those sharing about their cultivation experiences. He didn’t have this custom.”

He had other customs, instead, like forwarding every e-mail from Falun Gong e-mail lists to the 610 Office in China. The 610 Office is an extralegal agency of the Chinese Communist Party with sweeping powers that was founded on June 10, 1999. It coordinates and carries out the persecution of tens of millions of Falun Gong believers in China.

Mr. Z.’s case came to the public on Jan. 31 when Germany's top prosecutor published a press release that he had been indicted on Jan. 17 for spying on Falun Gong practitioners in Germany.

Falun Gong is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice with five slow-motion exercises. The adherents cultivate—that is, seek to improve—themselves by living according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.

“Falun Gong welcomes anyone, any time,” says Mr. Wu. “If you study Falun Gong, you’re welcome to come.” This makes any potential spy’s work pretty easy. Added to that, Mr. Z had joined in the practice of Falun Gong in Germany from the beginning, and was thus easily able to know most of the goings-on of the Falun Gong community there.

That was of much interest to Chinese intelligence agents, who conduct wide-scale surveillance of practitioners around the world.

In preparation for the July 2010 visit to China by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her administration decided they wanted to send an informal message to the Chinese leadership. The influential weekly publication Der Spiegel got a tip off from German counterespionage about Chinese spying in Germany, and a detailed article was published on June 30.

It said that “Dan Sun” had gone to the Chinese Embassy in Berlin in 2005 to apply for a visa. The case officer who dealt with his application is believed by German intelligence to be a member of the “Chinese Stasi”—the Stasi was the secret police of the communist government in East Germany. She arranged a meeting between Sun and “Chinese experts” about a “research project” on meditation. The meeting took place in 2006. At dinner Sun was engaged in a conversation that stretched late into the evening. He was drawn into a false friendship with a man deeply engaged in the persecution of the movement in mainland China.

“Dan Sun” is actually John Z. The man with whom John Z. met was Xiaohua Z., a head of the 610 Office who carries the rank of vice minister. Xiaohua Z. was posing as a representative of a university for traditional Chinese medicine in Shanghai.

“The fact that the Chinese government went to the trouble of flying in the head of the anti-Falun Gong unit from Shanghai to recruit a source in Germany demonstrates how important fighting the movement is to the government,” Der Spiegel reported. “It also points to the extremely aggressive approach that is sometimes being taken by the Chinese intelligence agencies.”

Next: Doctor of Chinese medicine had transferred information to agents for years