Spies in China, Beware: Report-A-Spy Hotline Has Chinese Citizens on the Lookout for You

Wednesday, November 04, 2015
(photo illustration: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Those spying in China are the target of a new hotline created by Chinese authorities bent on curtailing espionage.


Chinese are encouraged to call 12339, a number in the country’s Jilin province, to report someone suspected of spying, according to official media reports. The program is aimed at individuals or groups who “steal, pry out, buy or otherwise illegally obtain state secrets or intelligence, or conspire, coerce or pay government employees to become traitors.”


Those who make reports to the hotline will not receive a reward.


An official at the hotline told The New York Times that potential spies could be Chinese or foreigners. “Anyone can be a spy,” he said. “And anyone can also not be a spy.”


Citizens were warned in a post on social media that foreign journalists, some workers for non-governmental organizations and those with extensive time studying abroad could be spies, according to The Wall Street Journal.


Locals were also informed to not use the hotline to settle scores with enemies, and that anyone responsible for “intentional fabrication, lies or false charges” would be punished, according to the Jilin Daily.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Seen a Spy? With New Hotline, China Invites You to Call It In (by Austin Ramzy, New York Times)

Calling China’s New National Spy Hotline (by Josh Chin, Wall Street Journal)

China Has Created a Hotline You Can Use to Report a Suspected Spy (by Richard Macauley, Quartz)

Espionage or Clues Unified National Telephone Hotlines 12339 Open (Jilin Daily)

Chinese Government Accused of Sending Spies to Universities in U.S. and Australia (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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