Mark Magnier: Defection Spotlights Chinese Way of Spying

From The LA Times:

The defection of a senior Chinese diplomat in Australia who claims he helped oversee a vast spy network has cast a spotlight on China’s espionage activities at a time of increased global trade tensions and concern over Beijing’s military spending.

Chen Yonglin, the first secretary of the Chinese Consulate General in Sydney, chose a particularly embarrassing moment to go public against his employer ” a rally last month in Australia marking the 16th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

At an impromptu news conference shortly after Australia turned down his request for political asylum, the bookish Chen announced that he’d spent the last four years managing a network of 1,000 informants and spies in Australia on behalf of the Chinese government.

Their primary target, he added, were members of Falun Gong, a quasi-religious group banned in China as an “evil cult,” and those advocating independence for Tibet, Taiwan and East Turkmenistan.

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