Foreign espionage agencies said to have intensified disruptive activities
Beijing residents could be rewarded with up to 500,000 yuan (,460) if they can provide useful information on spies or related activities, according to a government policy that took effect on Monday.
Under the policy, informants are eligible to be offered rewards ranging from 10,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan, depending on how useful the information is, according to the policy issued by the National Security Bureau of Beijing.
Informants can pass information to authorities by calling a hotline, sending letters or visiting the bureau.
Informants' privacy and information about spy-related messages will not be disclosed, while information providers can ask authorities for protection if they or their relatives are in danger due to the act of informing, according to the policy.
However, informants will face punishments if they deliberately slander others or invent and spread false information, the policy stipulates.
The bureau said in a release that China is witnessing rapid increases in international exchanges and the number of people entering or exiting the country each year. “Meanwhile, overseas espionage agencies and other hostile forces have also intensified their disruptive activities in China, including political infiltration, subversion and the stealing of intelligence,” it said.
Some Chinese individuals have also betrayed the nation to benefit their private interests, which offers overseas espionage agencies opportunities, the bureau said, adding that Beijing, as the capital, is the primary location for such activities.
“Therefore, it's necessary to implement new measures in anti-espionage investigation, and to encourage the participation of the general public,” it said.
One of the most recent cases made public occurred in the eastern province of Jiangsu in January. Two residents in Lianyungang city, surnamed Zhang and Wan, called the national security authorities after they found a device with instructions in foreign languages while fishing in the Yellow Sea. The device was later found to be spying equipment made and used by overseas agencies to collect data, according to an official release.
The national security authorities said the two informants received significant financial rewards, but the amount was not disclosed.
China has intensified legislation on State security in recent years. In 2014, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress - the country's top legislature - adopted the Counterespionage Law amid a more complex State security situation.
The law stipulates that foreign organizations and individuals who conduct espionage activities or who instigate and sponsor others in conducting them will be punished, as will domestic organizations and individuals who spy on the country for foreign organizations and individuals.