US spreads China-related spy claims while launching large-scale intelligence activities against China: Chinese FM

In response to some media reports about a US Navy sailor being sentenced to 27 months in jail on Monday on China-related spy charges, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said she did not know the specific situation, but added that the US is spreading China-related spy claims while launching spying activities against China.

A former US sailor was sentenced to 27 months in jail on Monday for accepting nearly $15,000 in bribes from a Chinese intelligence officer in exchange for photos of unclassified private US military information, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

“I don’t know the specific situation, but I have noticed that senior US intelligence officials have publicly disclosed that progress has been made in rebuilding the US intelligence network in China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Tuesday during a press briefing when asked about the spy charges.

While the US is spreading information claiming that Chinese spies are involved in the case, it is publicly orchestrating plans to launch large-scale intelligence activities against China. This approach itself is very revealing. China will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard national security, Mao said.

CIA director William Burns revealed in 2023 that his agency has “made progress” in rebuilding its spy networks in China. China has unveiled some US-led espionage cases against China in 2023, for example, China’s national security authority cracked a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) espionage case involving a Chinese government employee who had been managed by the Japan branch of the US intelligence agency.

Foreign geographic information software collects sensitive data, posing threat to national security: ministry

China’s national security agencies have discovered that foreign geographic information system software used in important industries in China has been collecting and transmitting geographic information data with some of the information collected involving state secrets, posing a serious threat to national security, China’s Ministry of State Security said on Monday, noting that national security agencies will establish and improve a collaborative mechanism for data security protection to safeguard the protection of important national data.

Geographic information data are not only an important strategic data resource, but also a new production factor that can be widely applied in various industries, however, some organizations and individuals with ulterior motives have attempted to steal sensitive geographic information data using geographic information system software, according to an article released on the ministry’s WeChat public account on Monday. 

Geographic information system software is professional software that has functions such as geographic information data collection, storage, analysis, management, and sharing. Such software has powerful functions and can annotate various types of geographic information collected on maps, and analyze and display them in various formats. Coordinate accuracy can even reach the centimeter level. 

However, some foreign organizations, institutions, and individuals have set their sights on the geographic information data, attempting to conduct intelligence espionage activities using geographic information system software, according to the WeChat article.

The methods of these foreign organizations and individuals include automatically connecting to foreign servers during software usage to collect user data without restrictions, and pre-installing backdoors in the software to facilitate network attacks and data theft.

Moreover,a small number of users have limited awareness of data security and mark high-precision geographic coordinates of urban pipelines, military targets, and sensitive units on maps, creating serious risks of leakage and potential irreparable losses, according to the article. 

It also noted that geographic data are a high-value intelligence resource and are a key target for foreign intelligence agencies’ espionage activities. 

“By stealing high-precision geographic information data from our country, they can reconstruct three-dimensional topographic maps of specific areas in important fields such as transportation, energy, and military, providing crucial support for reconnaissance, surveillance, and military operations, posing a serious threat to our military security,” the ministry said. 

Recently, national security agencies have discovered that foreign geographic information system software used in important domestic industries has been collecting and transmitting geographic information data, and some of the data are important and sensitive, even involving state secrets, posing a serious threat to our national security. 

In response, national security agencies, together with relevant departments, are conducting special investigations and governance of geographic information data security risks, guiding and assisting relevant units in conducting inspections and rectifications, and promptly eliminating major security risks such as data theft and leakage.

China’s data security law stipulates that data processing activities should be carried out in accordance with the provisions of laws and regulations, establish and improve a comprehensive data security management system, organize data security education and training, adopt corresponding technical measures and other necessary measures to ensure data security.

When units and individuals engage in geographic information data collection and processing activities, they should choose secure and reliable geographic information system software, set strict access permissions based on the importance of the data, and ensure no sensitive information is available on the internet.

National security agencies will establish and improve a collaborative mechanism for data security protection in cooperation with relevant departments to jointly safeguard the protection of important national data, the Ministry of State Security said in the article. 

The ministry also warned that the theft, espionage, bribery, or illegal provision of data that arerelated to national security and interests by foreign organizations, institutions, individuals, or collusion with domestic organizations, institutions, individuals constitute espionage under Chinese law. 

Citizens who discover such behaviors can report them by calling the 12339 tip-off hotline, logging on to the www.12339.gov.cn , or reporting to the national security agencies through the official WeChat account, the article instructed. 

Central government’s office for safeguarding national security in HK supports police arresting five more fleeing anti-China figures

The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said on Thursday that it resolutely supports the Hong Kong police in arresting five fleeing anti-China figures in accordance with the law, and effectively preventing, stopping and punishing those who have fled to oppose the country and disrupt Hong Kong. 

The office said that “we must effectively safeguard the authority of the rule of law and consolidate the hard-won good situation in Hong Kong.”

The Hong Kong Police Force’s National Security Department announced on Thursday to place five more figures in exile into its warrant list, who are suspected of colluding with foreign or external forces including anti-government figures Joey Siu and Simon Cheng. 

In July, the police issued a HK$1 million ($128,000) bounty each for eight anti-government figures in exile, including Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Ted Hui Chi-fung. 

Cheng and others have long been engaged in anti-China and Hong Kong destabilization activities. After fleeing overseas, they continue to build platforms for disruptive activities in Hong Kong, spreading political rumors and “Hong Kong independence” fallacies about the country and Hong Kong, slandering Hong Kong’s rule of law, and pleading for foreign forces to sanction Hong Kong or interfere in Hong Kong affairs, the office said.

They openly challenge the authority of the National Security Law (NSL) for Hong Kong and undermine Hong Kong’s development. The Hong Kong Police, based on facts and in accordance with the law, have lawfully issued warrants for these fugitives involved in anti-China and Hong Kong destabilization activities. This aligns with the fundamental interests of Hong Kong, reflects the common will of society, and it’s an inevitable requirement for the comprehensive and accurate implementation of the NSL for Hong Kong, a righteous act to safeguard national security in accordance with the law, and a necessary measure to ensure the prosperous and stable development of Hong Kong, the office said.

This issuance of warrant marks another lawful action following the July warrants against anti-government figure Kevin Yam and eight other fugitives for their leading roles in anti-China and Hong Kong destabilization activities. It targets five individuals suspected of committing crimes of inciting secession, inciting subversion of state power, and colluding with foreign or overseas forces to endanger national security, the office said. 

This demonstrates the Hong Kong Police’s courageous responsibility, firm commitment to defending the authority of the NSL for Hong Kong, and unwavering determination to safeguard national security. It is believed that the Hong Kong police will take all necessary measures according to the law to hold these fugitives accountable for their crimes. 

They will also lawfully deal with those who assist, incite, or fund acts endangering national security, striking at the arrogance of these fugitives involved in anti-China and Hong Kong destabilization activities, the office said. 

The 33-year-old Cheng was suspected of inciting secession and colluding with foreign or overseas forces to endanger national security. Since August 2020, he, along with others, established political organizations and frequently advocated for “Hong Kong independence” on social media platforms, calling for foreign sanctions and hostile actions against Hong Kong government officials and judicial personnel. 

Cheng, a former employee at the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong, was detained by the mainland police at the West Kowloon high-speed rail station on August 8, 2019. Later, the Luohu public security in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong, revealed that he had been “involved in prostitution activities multiple times,” resulting in a 15-day administrative detention, according to media reports. 

US reported maritime protection force in the Red Sea to have limited effect in curbing conflict spillover

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is reportedly set to announce an expanded maritime protection force involving Arab states in the Red Sea in response to the escalating attacks against Israel-bound cargo ships by Yemen’s Houthi rebel group. Chinese analysts said by doing so, Washington aims to force its regional allies to become more involved in curbing the spillover of current Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but predicted that the move would play only limited role in pacifying the situation.

Washington should do more to solve the Palestine-Israel conflict than to put in place superficial moves, Chinese experts said, noting that US hypocrisy of calling for cease-fire between Israel and Palestine but constant blocking of UN resolutions on demanding cease-fire in fact fueled Israel’s determination of continued military actions. 

Being the latest Biden administration official to visit Israel, Austin, who arrived in Israel on Monday, is to gain a clearer assessment from Israeli officials on their military operations, CNN reported.

AP said that Austin is also expected to press Israel to wind down major combat operations in Gaza.

Austin is also expected to announce an expanded maritime protection force, to be known as Operation Prosperity Guardian, involving Arab states combatting increasingly frequent Houthi attacks being mounted from Yemen’s ports on commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the Guardian reported. Yet the report revealed no details over which Arab states are expected to join. 

Protection of shipping routes in the Red Sea is probably the key agenda behind Austin’s visit, as the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict has exerted a huge impact on global economy, Liu Zhongmin, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times on Monday. He said the Houthi rebel group’s attacks have created a dilemma for the US. 

The attacks, targeting a route that allows East-West trade, especially of oil, to use the Suez Canal to save the time and expense of circumnavigating Africa, have pushed some shipping companies to re-route vessels to avoid the area. For example, French shipping group CMA CGM on Saturday said it was pausing all container shipments through the Red Sea after an attack on one of its container ships, MSC Palatium III, one day earlier, per Reuters. 

The US is hoping that regional allies become more involved in curbing the spillover effect of current conflict via the proposed protection force, which in reality will only have limited effect, Liu said. 

Experts noted that the fundamental solution is to continue to call for cease-fire between the conflicting sides, whilst responding violence with violence will only fuel the current conflict. 

France, the UK and Germany -some of Israel’s closest allies- joined global calls for a cease-fire over the weekend, and Israeli protesters have demanded the government relaunch talks with the militant group on releasing more hostages after three were mistakenly killed by Israeli troops while waving a white flag.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel will keep fighting until it removes Hamas from power, crushes its military capabilities and returns the hostages, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

Liu noted that the increasing international and domestic pressure are not enough for Israel to change its military action in Gaza as those pressure are mostly at surface level. Moreover, the US is calling for cease-fire in public, yet it is giving Israel green light in the UN by opposing UN’s cease-fire resolutions.

Pandas returning from overseas in good condition at Chengdu research base

In 2023, a total of 15 giant pandas returned to China from overseas after expiry of loan agreements. Among these 15 pandas, four are currently residing at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province and are in good condition, the Global Times learned during a recent visit.

On February 22, giant panda Yong Ming arrived in Chengdu from Japan with his twin daughters, Ying Bang and Tao Bang. On July 26, giant panda cub Yuan Meng, who was born in France, arrived in Chengdu and also joined the base, a staff member surnamed Liu at the research base told the Global Times.

Among all the returning pandas, Yong Ming is the oldest at 31 years old, which is about 100 years old in human terms. He is also the second oldest captive male giant panda in the world.

After arriving at the base, the pandas undergo quarantine and a period of isolation, said Liu. Once their condition stabilizes, they will be moved to open enclosures to meet the public.

During the visit, the Global Times reporter saw these pandas eating bamboo and enjoying their time at the base. All of them appeared to be in good physical and mental health, which was confirmed by the base’s staff.

At the base, each panda has an outdoor activity area ranging from 500 to 800 square meters in size, which ensures that they have ample space to move around, Liu said. They also each have an “indoor apartment.”

Since the return of the panda cub Xiang Xiang in February, a total of 15 pandas have returned to China in 2023 from countries including the US, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and the UK. In 2024, several more pandas are expected to return to China after their loan agreements expire. 

These pandas, who have lived abroad for a long time, have also become favorites among Chinese tourists after returning to China. The Global Times has learned that many make special trips to the breeding base to visit these national treasures.

On the same visit, representatives from Pakistani media and think tanks expressed admiration for China’s panda conservation efforts and shared their expectations for cooperation between China and Pakistan in this field.

“In the past, pandas were a globally endangered species, but China has taken special measures to protect them. Here, all the pandas receive excellent care,” said Faiyan Zia Bangash, a senior reporter from Pakistan’s The News.

“I have always had a special love for pandas, but it wasn’t until today when I saw them with my own eyes that I truly experienced their cuteness,” said Fahd Gauhar Malik, editor of the Pakistan Observer. 

“I really hope that in the future, China and Pakistan can also have relevant cooperation so that the people of Pakistan can see pandas in their own zoos,” Malik said.

Hangzhou hosts delegations as preparations for Asian Para Games gather pace

Deputies from Asia’s 45 national and regional Paralympic committees are being brought up to speed with the policies and procedures for the Hangzhou Asian Para Games at the ongoing delegation meeting held in Hangzhou from Sunday to Thursday.

The five-day meeting, a milestone in preparation for the Asian Para Games, is dedicated to publicizing the policies of the games, including registration, competition sign-up and accommodation, and helping the delegations to gain first-hand experience at the competition venues, according to the Hangzhou Asian Para Games Organizing Committee.

The 4th Asian Para Games is scheduled to take place from October 22 to 28 in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province. About 4,000 athletes will participate in 22 sports across 24 disciplines. The motto of the Asian Para Games is “Hearts Meet, Dreams Shine.” 

Deputies of 32 national and regional Paralympic committees have joined the meeting in Hangzhou with deputies of the other 13 committees attending online. 

The deputies will visit the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center and Para Games Village to gain a better understanding of the venues and facilities. They will also tour the West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Hangzhou, to experience the culture of the dynamic city.  

The Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, one of three sports stadiums in China with a capacity of over 80,000 people, will host both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Hangzhou Asian Games and the Asian Para Games, as well as the athletics competitions.

Feedback from the deputies will help the organizing committee better meet the needs of the athletes, improve competition services and assist with logistics.

Hangzhou is committed to delivering a grand barrier-free sporting event, contributing to the athletic development of people with disabilities in Asia.

It is the second Chinese city to host the Asian Para Games after Guangzhou initiated the maiden Asian Para Games in 2010.

FISU Games conclude, yet friendship and solidarity continue among youth

The 31st FISU World University Games, after offering exciting competitions and diverse cultural exposure, concluded on Tuesday in Southwest China’s Chengdu with a splendid ceremony that wrapped up shining moments during the Games and delivered wishes for a happier and brighter future.

The Chengdu FISU Games were not only a gathering for sports, but also a gathering to enhance mutual understanding and make friends, and the friendship will pass on among youth from all over the world with their traits of openness, inclusiveness, solidarity and vitality, analysts said.

The appearance of delegations features the process of a dove tree’s growing from root to giant plant with lush branches and leaves. The dove-like flowers, a symbol of peace, then start to bloom.

The dove tree is a species indigenous to China which survived the ice age and its flower resembles a flying dove with two snow-white bracts. The ceremony incorporates the elements of the dove tree and its flowers to stress the resilience of life and the hope for everlasting peace.

Chinese State Councilor Shen Yiqin and FISU acting president Leonz Eder attended the ceremony.

The ceremony stage was designed based on a “cell phone” and captured the concept of livestreaming. Through the camera of a “livestreamer,” young people from all over the world were able to be part of the FISU Games.

The master display presented 3D visual effects with naked-eye 3D technology, offering novel, amazing, special and delicate spectating experience.

After lowering the FISU flag along the playing of the FISU anthem, the flag was handed over to Rhine-Ruhr, host city of next FISU Games in 2025.

The FISU Games ran from July 28 to August 8 and featured 269 events across 18 sports. The Chinese delegation participated in all 18 sports of the games and claimed 103 gold medals, 40 silvers and 35 bronzes in total, ranking on top of the medal tally.

Besides performance on the competition ground, China’s performance in terms of hosting this international event is also well recognized.

“The preparations and setup of the venues are just unbelievable. Everything has been running smoothly and the competitions are going very well. We can only praise the organizing committee for the great work it’s done,” Eder said in an earlier exclusive interview with the Global Times.

Making friends

For the participants, from athletes and coaches to staff and volunteers, the past weeks have made Chengdu, known for its tasty cuisines, adorable pandas and a leisure lifestyle, an unforgettable place where they’ve shed sweat and tears, challenged themselves and make breakthroughs, and more importantly, make friends beyond borders, analysts said.

One touching moment which can elucidate the sportsmanship of the youth event happened on Friday. When Uganda’s badminton player Amos Muyanja broke his racket without a replacement, his competitor from China Wang Zhengxing offered Muyanja a backup racket.

The FISU Games organizer wrote on Twitter that “we unite to push our limits and inspire each other… We wish all the participants not only to take home victories but also friendship and cherished memories!”

Azerbaijan badminton player Agil Gabilov told the Global Times on Tuesday that Chengdu has been a great experience for him. He made friends with athletes and volunteers and was impressed by the friendliness he received.

Brazilian swimmer Fernanda Gomes Celidonio said that volunteers at the Chengdu Games made her feel “at home.”

Athletes including German volleyball player Yann Bohme got a birthday surprise as after a match, the cheering squad and mascot Rongbao wished him happy birthday and the audience sang in chorus the birthday melody for him.

Athletes also received special gifts, including 3D-printed figurine and local artifacts such as palm fiber weavings and embroidery badges, according to media reports.

The Games also provide a great platform for cultural exchanges other than competition, which Zambian tennis player Esther Sakala appreciated a lot.

Sakala, as a lover of art and an artist herself, was excited to meet those crafty and talented people and see their skills. She had a chance to paint a cup which was later given as a gift and Sakala said she “Loved it so much.”A range of Chinese cultural elements, from handicrafts to musical instruments, have intrigued FISU Game participants at a culture fair held next to the Games Village.

Youth spirit

On and off the competition ground, youth across the world are demonstrating the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and solidarity, igniting a world of division and turbulence, analysts noted.

The Chengdu FISU Games were postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this successful holding marked the resumption of face-to-face communication and exchanges among youth via sports and can leverage more interactions in other fields, such as culture, they said.

Li Haidong, a professor with the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that sport can be an easy bridge to connect people from different countries and regions and help them build friendship.

The FISU World University Games in Chengdu are a precious opportunity for athletes and people from all around the world to deepen mutual understanding and trust, which will also lay the foundation for closer cooperation and solidarity, Li noted.

FISU Universiade was first held during the Cold War in 1959. It not only encourages young people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, but also seeks to promote young people communicating across cultural, political and religious barriers through sports, Ren Hai, a professor at the Olympic Research Center of Beijing Sports University, told the Global Times.

When the world is experiencing uncertainty and turbulence, China hopes to deliver a message of peace, communication and cooperation through this gathering of young people, who represent hope and the future, analysts said.

Eder, the acting president of the FISU, has visited China more than 20 times and observed the country’s fast economic development, as well as its increased confidence and openness. “I can feel the country’s readiness to cooperate with many countries whether they come from the East, West, North, or South,” Eder said.

Young Chinese tennis players deliver giant killing at US Open

Chinese players have accomplished one upset after another at the ongoing US Open.

In the hard-court tennis Grand Slam tournament, Zhang Zhizhen became the first man from the Chinese mainland to beat a player in the top five of the ATP rankings as he pulled off a resilient display of tennis skills to prevail against World No.5 Casper Ruud of Norway 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2 on Wednesday night.

Thanks to his powerful serves (18 aces) and punishing forehand that overwhelmed Ruud with a whopping 60 winners overall, Zhang made it to the third round of the tournament, a new breakthrough in his personal career. 

“That was a wild ride,” US Open official Twitter commented on Zhang’s surprise victory over the 2022 US Open runner-up. Rudd had been to the finals in three of the last six Grand Slam events.

The 26-year-old also avenged his loss to Rudd in the third round of the French Open in June. Zhang will face Rinky Hijikata of Australia in the third round. His opponent, Ruud, believes he can keep on going. “I was impressed, in a way, how he played,” Ruud said. “He’s going to be a threat for many years.”

“Last year at the US Open, I can say it was a bad memory. But this year is a little bit different,” said Zhang after the match.

“At the end of the match, when I finished the last point, I didn’t really celebrate, as if I was not super happy. But I was happy inside, it just didn’t show.”

Liu Yu, a Beijing-based sports commentator, told the Global Times that Zhang has been improving, especially after he hired Lu Yen-hsun, a retired player from Taiwan island, to join his team. Liu said he looks forward to seeing Zhang representing China at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Should Zhang reach the fourth round, he will have a chance to become the first Chinese man to crack the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings.

Zhang is not the only Chinese that stunned a seeded player as Zhu Lin moved into the third round after breezing past Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-3 in the women’s singles.