Beware of Westerners! Chinese Cartoon Warns of Foreign Spies

Beware of Westerners! Chinese Cartoon Warns of Foreign Spies
Photo Credit: GlobalNews

A poster has been released in China cautioning young Chinese female government workers about dating Westerners who may actually be spies.

The cartoon depicts a young Chinese government worker, named Xiao Li, gradually falling in love with a Western academic named David. He asks to borrow some secret government documents for his research and she obliges. The cartoon ends with the state police arresting them both. Xiao Li sits handcuffed, while the police says she has a “shallow understanding of secrecy for a state employee.”

According to CBS, a Beijing district government stated that the poster will educate workers to keep important information classified to deter espionage. In addition, governmental staff will receive counter-espionage training.

The Ministry of State Security has released several cartoons online that utilize pop culture to explain the importance of safeguarding sensitive information.

On Weibo, viewers of the cartoon videos responded positively, with one praising the videos for being “easy to understand and close to the people.”

This comes amid China’s increased concern over the threat of espionage by foreign powers. The country has a history of censorship and authoritarian control, which helps the Communist Party to stay in power.

According to a Foreign Policy article published in 2014, China is often is often the target of espionage. Over the past few years, soldiers, graduate students, and even senior Party officials, have been found guilty of committing espionage. Central Committee member Kang was found guilty of leaking nuclear secrets in 2010, while in 2012 an aide to Vice Minister Lu of the Ministry of State Security was found spying for the CIA. Swedish human rights activist Peter Dahlin was detained earlier this year due to “funding criminal activities harmful to China’s national security.”

A New York Times article in 2011 said that journalists were treated as if they were political dissidents. It notes, “At least a dozen other journalists and photographers were visited in their homes and repeatedly warned not to cause trouble — or, as one officer put it, try to “topple the party.”

Edited by Edward White
New York Times
Foreign Policy
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