2017-04-10 07:51:18

Foreign spies operating in Beijing should be on high alert after the municipal government announced that any tips regarding their covert operations will be rewarded with up to 500,000 yuan ($72,000).

The measure, which was announced by the Beijing branch of the National Security Bureau on Monday, takes effect immediately and lays out a tiered reward scheme for those who provide information about suspected instances of foreign espionage. Officials will consider the importance of any clues to determine the amount paid to citizen informants.

The highest rewards — between 100,000 and 500,000 yuan — are reserved for those who provide “particularly prominent” information leading directly to the prevention or revelation of foreign spy activities. Those who provide information deemed “significant” for espionage-busting will receive between 50,000 and 100,000 yuan, while information regarded as “quite important” commands a reward of between 10,000 and 50,000 yuan.

The bureau also said that informants and their families could apply for state protection if they feared for their personal safety, and that information could be shared in full confidence with the relevant authorities. However, willfully providing false information to national security authorities would leave citizens at risk of criminal charges, the bureau warned.

Beijing residents should know from previous government efforts to be on alert for evidence of foreign agents. In April last year, officially sanctioned posters appeared in public spaces in the city’s Xicheng District that featured a 16-panel comic book-style story titled “Dangerous Love.” It features a low-level state employee, Xiao Li, who enters into a relationship with a handsome, redheaded foreign man named David. Flattered by his James Bond-like charms, Xiao Li passes confidential national security information to David under the assumption that he is using it for “academic research.” The story ends with a tearful Xiao Li undergoing police interrogation for having violated national law.

Editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.

(Header image: Zhao Yun/Sixth Tone)