When we think of espionage inevitably images from James Bond spring to mind: fast cars, gadgets and seduction. But aside from the seduction part, there wasn’t much in the way of James Bond glamour in Beijing’s recent exposure of a spy network from Taiwan that was targeting mainland students.
This was the revelation from the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council on Sunday, which said that a Taiwanese spy network had been “recklessly stepping up information collection and infiltration activities”. It asserted that a key tactic for turning mainland students studying in Taipei into informants was sex.
To prove its point a salacious example was revealed, the China Daily reports. This involved a Taiwanese spy calling herself Hsu Chia-ying who befriended an 18 year-old mainland student at a party in Taipei in 2011. They became lovers and initially after he returned to the mainland Hsu asked for basic information about his daily routine. But soon she was requesting more, and as a post-graduate working in a key state laboratory he had access to sensitive technical information. She subsequently blackmailed him and over three years he passed her 100 items of science and technology related information.
According to the China Daily report, the real name of the spy was Hsu Li-ting. She was not only active with the Taiwan Military Intelligence Bureau but she is 16 years older than the student she seduced. The public exposure of such activity comes at a time when relations between Beijing and Taipei have been increasingly strained, and signals a PR effort to warn the mainland’s youth of the dangers of studying at a Taiwanese university.