Suspected Spy Working for China Economic Daily in Korea

By Lee Chang-Woo & Gary Pansey

On June 14, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

China Economic Daily’s office in a residential complex in Seoul. (The Epoch Times)

China Economic Daily’s office in a residential complex in Seoul. (The Epoch Times)

Recent activities by Chinese spies posing as journalists have caught the attention of Korea’s Intelligence Agency. A source there reveals that Gu Jinjun, the correspondent for China’s Economic Daily in Seoul, is suspected as a spy.

The source, who requested to remain anonymous, told The Epoch Times, “There are a number of Chinese spy networks active in Korea, more than most people imagine. They have infiltrated Korea’s political, economical, social, and cultural fields and then they try to establish connections with influential people and steal information by establishing friendly relationships.”

Though listed as a correspondent, Gu Jinjun has never published any serious interviews with business people or economists in the last few years—only a few reports in the form of brief excerpts.

The source says that Chinese spy networks are controlled by the Central Investigation Department at the Ministry of State Security. Since its establishment in 1980, this agency has sent spies posing as media reporters all over the world to collect intelligence.

Chinese spies posing as journalists are not uncommon, since they can gather valuable information under the guise of reporting. Regarding Chinese spies, Jim Dugan, a former counterintelligence agent, told The Examiner, “Spies come in many different forms, journalists and news reporters is just one form … They may ask innocuous sounding questions sometimes that seem harmless enough on the surface but could reveal something that could be used later on to make an inference.”

After the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, Jia Chunwang, then Minister of State Security, told Gao Di, head of People’s Daily, that the paper’s international department needs to increase the portion of security officials being sent overseas, the source recalled.

Gao agreed immediately, and from then on, People’s Daily became the “expatriate spy training center.” This news was widely publicized in Chinese media circles.

Several of these espionage attempts have come to light. In September of last year, the romantic affair between Bob Dechert, a Canadian Conservative MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Shi Rong, chief correspondent for China’s Xinhua News in Toronto, was exposed.

Honey traps, also called honey pots, typically involve luring a target with sex, then blackmailing them or using the relationship to obtain information, and are common strategies used by spies.

Canada’s The Globe and Mailreported that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been actively collecting information overseas. Richard Fadden, Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), publicly warned about CCP spies exploiting Canadian politicians in 2010.

Gu’s office in Seoul is located in a residential complex called Lucky Apartments. Security is high and visitors cannot freely enter.

Gu’s office in Seoul is located in a residential complex called Lucky Apartments. Security is high and visitors cannot freely enter. There were no signs of the Economic Daily at the apartment entrance. These circumstances are significantly different than those of most foreign media in Seoul. According to the source, this apartment complex is the gathering place for Chinese diplomatic personnel and Chinese intelligence officers.

The spacious apartment has three rooms: two contain computer networks and desks, and one for the bedroom. When the “office” was visited on a weekday there was no one working there except a guard who confirmed that Gu does not come to work every day.

On July 16, 2011, a rally was held by the Korean Falun Dafa Association in front of Seoul’s Municipal Government to condemn the CCP’s repression of Falun Gong in China. Without prior permission, Gu started taking pictures of the rally and he demanded to see the schedule of events.

Although he shows up each time Falun Gong practitioners hold events, taking pictures and conducting interviews, people who practice Falun Gong in Korea say they’ve never seen reports published by him about the events. Falun Gong has been persecuted by the Chinese regime since 1999.

Falun Gong practitioners have been a prime target of Chinese spies. After defecting from the Chinese consulate in Sydney, Australia, in 2005, Chen Yonglin revealed the breadth of the CCP’s efforts to spy on dissident groups and provided documents to prove his claims. He told The Epoch Times in June 2007 that the CCP’s goal is to discredit five main groups. These include Tibetan exiles, Taiwanese, Uyghur Muslims, and democracy activists, but Falun Gong is at the top of the list.

According to the coordinator of the Korean Falun Gong Association, Gu often comes to the event venue one hour before the start and takes pictures of Falun Gong practitioners as they prepare for the event.
The Association spokesperson said that the Falun Dafa Association is an officially registered organization in Korea and when Chinese spies interfere with activities of the group, it is a violation of their lawful rights. The spokesperson said that to maintain dignity of law and national sovereignty, the Korean government should deport these spies.

Read the original Chinese article.

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