Footage of a Chinese general discussing sensitive spying cases has been leaked onto video sharing site YouTube, in what appears to be an embarrassing failure of secrecy for the usually tight-lipped military.
It was not clear when or where Major General Jin Yinan (金一南) made the comments and China’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond yesterday to faxed questions about the video. Calls to the National Defense University, where Jin is a lecturer, rang unanswered.
While some of the cases had been announced before, few details had been released, while others involving the military had been entirely secret.
Among those Jin discussed was Tong Daning (佟達寧), an official from China’s social security fund, who was executed in 2006 after being convicted on charges of spying for Taiwan.
Jin said Tong had passed information to Taiwanese leaders about China’s currency regime, allowing them to avoid massive losses because of exchange rate changes.
Jin also talked about former Chinese ambassador to South Korea Li Bin (李濱), who was sentenced to seven years for corruption. Jin said Li had actually been discovered passing secrets to South Korea that compromised China’s position in North Korean nuclear disarmament talks, but the allegations were too embarrassing to make public and graft charges were brought instead.
“In all the world, what nation’s ambassador serves as another country’s spy?” Jin said.
Similar treatment was handed out to the former head of China’s nuclear power program, Kang Rixin (康日新), who was sentenced to life in prison in November last year on charges of corruption. Jin said Kang had in fact peddled secrets about China’s civilian nuclear program to a foreign nation that he did not identify, but that was considered too sensitive to bring up in court.
Kang, a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) powerful Central Committee as well as its disciplinary arm, was one of the highest-ranking officials ever to be involved in spying, Jin said. His arrest dealt a major shock to the party leadership, Jin said.
“The party center was extremely nervous. They ordered top-to-bottom inspections and spared no individual,” he said.
Among the cases involving military personnel, Jin said that of Colonel Xu Junping (徐俊平), who defected to the US in 2000, did not involve the loss of any technical secrets.
Instead, Xu relayed to the US his knowledge of the military leaderships’ personalities, attitudes and habits gleaned from many years accompanying the top brass on trips abroad, Jin said.
The video was also posted on Chinese Web sites and while it was removed from most locations, screen shots, audio files and transcripts of Jin’s comments could still be found on sites such as Sina Weibo’s popular microblogging service.
Jin’s presentation, complete with explanatory slides, was typical of how such cases are discussed at private sessions as a warning to CCP cadres not to be lured into espionage or corruption.
The leaked video appeared to have been from an official recording rather than filmed by a member of the audience.