The national security authority in Beijing received nearly 5,000 tips about possible espionage over the past year from members of the public, Beijing Daily reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper quoted the Beijing Municipal Bureau of National Security as saying that the reports were made by Chinese citizens and others living overseas via the bureau's hotline 12339 after cash rewards for tips were offered a year ago. Anyone who offers clues that play an important role in the prevention of espionage or the cracking of a spy case will be rewarded up to 500,000 yuan (,000). The hotline was set up in 2015.
The bureau said the reports have aided the crackdown on espionage, noting that through the hotline and other national security awareness campaigns, residents in Beijing have become more active in assisting national security authorities.
The statement used the example of a report by a Chinese national whom a spy had tried to recruit. A doctoral student identified as Li had been approached by a man known as Peter at an academic workshop. Peter told Li that he was a researcher at an international institute. The two kept in touch after the workshop and discussed academic issues via email. In addition, Peter sent Li some academic papers and small gifts.
Their contacts ended when Peter offered to help Li apply for permanent residency in the United States in exchange for Li giving him information about a classified program.
The Beijing national security bureau identified Peter as a member of an overseas intelligence agency and rewarded Li for reporting the recruiting attempt.