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China decided to dig deep in its pockets in order to obtain information that will lead to the discovery of foreign spies. It was announced in the Beijing Daily, a communist party newspaper, that Beijing’s residents are offered up to 500,000 yuan (€68,470) if they provide Chinese authorities with information that will help them thwart the plans of foreign spies.
Public security officials have issued a statement in which they said that Beijing has become “the favourite destination for overseas spy agencies and other hostile forces [hoping to] engage in infiltration, subversion, division, destruction and the theft of information.” They furthermore encouraged the public “to slowly construct an iron Great Wall in combating evil and guarding against spies”.
People can report spies either by dialling 12339 to access the hotline, post spy tip-offs to Number 9 Qianmen East Avenue, Beijing or drop by in person to have a chat.
Depending on the relevance of the information, citizens who provide it will be rewarded between 100,000 and 500,000 yuan. They have 90 days to collect their reward and can request protection if they feel their or their family’s safety is at risk.
Since 2012, national security has become a major topic in China. President Xi Jinping introduced a security law that activists claim allows Beijing to take measures against opponents. China has introduced a national security education day in order to raise awareness about agents and spies and launched several campaigns, including one that warns Chinese women about dashing double agents that try to seduce them in order to obtain state secrets.