Spy games: China arrests 6 Japanese, as US digs up old stories
Six Japanese nationals working near Chinese naval bases have been arrested for “illegal activities”
China confirmed this week that six Japanese nationals were detained for alleged involvement in unspecified “illegal activities.”
The suspects were detained in Shandong and Hainan provinces, a detail highlighted by multiple news source as both locales are home to naval bases. Sources familiar with the matter say the three men detained in Hainan were suspected of posing a threat to national security, according to a report from Nikkei Asian Review.
The confirmation comes as China has made counter-espionage a high-profile priority, and coincides with a New York Times report over the weekend that China killed or imprisoned more than a dozen US CIA sources from 2010-2012.
The Times report included a description of the execution of one source in front of his colleagues in the courtyard of a Chinese government building, which cited three former officials. That account was refuted, citing no sources, by the Chinese Global Times as “a purely fabricated story, most likely a piece of American-style imagination based on ideology.”
The Global Times, however, was willing to accept other details of the New York Times report may have been true, and if so represented a victory for China.
One question worth asking: why is the US intelligence apparatus, along with the New York Times, revealing these old spy stories now?