China offers $ 15,000 or "spiritual rewards" for reporting foreign spies and Chinese collaborators

China is offering its citizens cash rewards of 100,000 yuan ($ 15,000), and even more, for information about people who could endanger national security, CNN reports. Beijing has stepped up its long-running campaign to eradicate what authorities believe is the growing danger of “hostile forces” and foreign agent espionage.

Informants may receive “spiritual rewards” in the form of certificates or “material rewards” in cash, according to measures released Monday by the State Security Ministry.

The cash reward is organized on four levels depending on the value of the information provided. They start at 10,000 yuan ($ 1,500) and can exceed 100,000 yuan ($ 15,000).

The notifications must specify the persons involved or the actions taken and must contain new information that the authorities do not already have. Chinese citizens can make reports in person, online, by mail or by phone, using the direct line with security members.

The Chinese are urged to help expose “foreign agents” among the population

For many years, the Beijing authorities have encouraged the public to provide information about foreign spies and their Chinese collaborators through propaganda and encouragement campaigns. These efforts have picked up even more speed under the command of President Xi Jinping.

“We need to make sure that national security is entirely for the people and the people, mobilizing the efforts of the entire Communist Party and society as a whole to bring together the strong forces to protect national security,” Xi told officials in 2016.

China National Security Education Day
For many years, the Beijing authorities have encouraged the public to provide information about foreign spies and their Chinese collaborators through propaganda and encouragement campaigns. Photo: Profimedia Images

The Beijing municipal government began offering up to half a million yuan ($ 75,000) in 2017 to anyone who helps expose a spy. In just one year, authorities received nearly 5,000 reports and rewarded informants ranging from scientists to taxi drivers, according to state-run Beijing News.

“The formulation of measures helps to fully mobilize the public’s enthusiasm to support and assist with the work of national security and to train the hearts, morals, wisdom and strength of the people,” said a representative of the Ministry of State Security.

The China-US rivalry is pushing Beijing towards an increasingly authoritarian domestic and foreign policy

The measures come at a time when Chinese officials and state media are promoting the idea that Beijing is in grave and constant danger from “foreign hostile forces” who, according to authorities, are trying to infiltrate and undermine the country in every way. possible.

China’s growing suspicions of foreign influence stem in part from the geopolitical rivalry between Beijing and the West, especially the United States, as the Asian country becomes more authoritarian in domestic politics and aggressive in foreign policy under Xi’s command.

Elevi China weapons
In 2016, China celebrated National Security Education Day for the first time with an avalanche of propaganda materials and activities. Photo: Profimedia Images

China celebrated National Security Education Day for the first time in 2016 with an avalanche of propaganda materials that included a comic book-style poster distributed throughout Beijing and warning young civil servants not to have contact with handsome foreigners. so as not to risk falling in love with a James Bond-type character.

The second time this day was celebrated, an online publishing house published books for students in which they taught children to play games such as “find the spy” to educate them about the need to protect national security.

Students trained to become “huge counterintelligence force”

The initiative was described by The Global Times, a nationalist state tabloid, as part of efforts to turn students and pupils into a “huge counterintelligence force.”

During the same period, an unofficial document began circulating on social networks informing the population about how they can detect a spy. Foreign correspondents, missionaries and NGO employees were among those identified as potential suspects.

China school students
An online publishing house has published books for students to teach children how to play “find the spy” games to educate them about the need to protect national security. Photo: Profimedia Images

People with “vague professions, many degrees and a lot of money”, those who “studied abroad in several countries” and “people who often travel to see other people” were also suspected of being spies.

These campaigns have not only raised suspicions about foreigners living in China, but have also been used to persecute government critics, social activists, lawyers, journalists, feminists and other members of the Chinese population who are not afraid to express themselves freely. opinion.

“Foreign forces and their Chinese collaborators” are increasingly under attack and accused of a wide range of social issues, from inadequate illustrations in primary school textbooks to criticism of the authorities for handling the Covid pandemic crisis. -19.

Editor: Raul Nețoiu

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