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On Sunday, China’s Ministry of State Security announced that a Chinese national, referred to by the surname Hou, has been accused of leaking state secrets to the US.
Hou, who was employed at an undisclosed defense institute, had traveled to a US university as a visiting student in 2013. According to a report by state broadcaster CCTV, an American “intelligence officer” under the guise of a consulting company employee befriended Hou during his stay. As their relationship deepened, the intelligence officer coerced Hou into revealing sensitive information by leveraging the safety of Hou’s family. “Espionage activities go hand in hand with deception, temptation, and conspiracy,” stated China’s Ministry of State Security in conjunction with the report.
The alleged spying continued even after Hou’s return to China in 2014, with him reportedly providing intelligence on national defense and the military industry while attending international conferences. The statement elaborated that Hou would disclose classified data during hourly sessions and receive $1,000 per session as compensation. This relationship continued even after Hou’s return to China in 2014. He regularly provided intelligence on national defense and military industries during international conferences and independently.
After governmental probes, Hou was detained in July 2021 on espionage suspicions. Amid escalating tensions, China has increasingly detained individuals on espionage suspicions, causing heightened US concerns regarding China’s counter-espionage measures.