Chinese state media is warning students studying overseas to avoid foreign spies, writing that an “overseas intelligence agency” has repeatedly seduced Chinese students to conduct espionage against their home country, South China Morning Post reports.
Although the media reports did not mention the name of the intelligence agency or country of origin, the accusations mirror a similar education campaign happening in the United States.
A public service announcement released last month by the FBI tells the true story of Glenn Shriver, a young American student recruited by the Chinese government to write papers. Although it started out innocently, and offered compensation, eventually he was pushed to apply to the CIA — where a polygraph revealed what he had been doing, KSNV-TV reports.
“American college students are telling us more and more of this in the country,” FBI Special Agent Fred Bradford told KSNV. “They’re coming back from an overseas experience saying unusual things happened, offers that didn’t make sense, for money, big favours, positions they really weren’t suited for. And we think a lot of those were pitches or recruitments.”
According to the Chinese media reports cited by SCMP, most students are initially contacted through web forums and social media, and asked to conduct research for foreign companies for pay.
An anonymous security officer told China’s Global Times this is a “common approach of overseas intelligence agencies,” describing the practice as “venturing a small fish to catch a great one.”
Earlier this week, Global Times reported on a case of one person leaking “more than 20 pieces of military secrets” to a foreign spy known only as “Feige.”
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