China sentences man to death for selling state secrets

Chinese man Huang Yu has been sentenced to death after leaking over 150,000 classified documents to an unidentified foreign power. Originally from Sichaun, the computer technician specializing in cryptography was employed at a government department, which handled state secrets, however it was reported that he was a bad employee and was fired.

In retaliation he messaged a “foreign spy organization” on the Internet and presented them with the means to buy the documents he had acquired during his time with his former employer, the organisation gladly took him up on his offer and so began their relationship.

He reportedly sold materials, which included military codes from 2002 to 2011, making about $700,000 from the dealings.

However he had a limited amount of documents and as he was no longer employed at the government department he instead targeted his wife and brother-in-law who also dealt with handling state secrets.

His espionage lifestyle ended in 2011 when his unexplained wealth and frequent travel caught up with him as reported by the state television.

“If there are other people who see me and they are doing similar things- betraying their country – I hope they’ll report themselves to the national security people,” he said during an interview. “That’s good for their family and themselves, and it will lead to a better outcome.”

An execution date was not given, however Mr. Huang’s death was the first known case of a Chinese citizen’s receiving the death penalty for espionage since 2008, when the government executed a biomedical researcher and a distant relative of his, accusing them of passing secrets to Taiwan. His trial location was concealed.

China’s state secret law is notoriously broad, covering everything from industry data to the exact birth dates of state leaders. Information can also be labelled a state secret retroactively.

In 2014, Mr.Xi signed an espionage law to more expansively track foreign spies and Chinese citizens who aid them. Last year, the government sanctioned a sweeping national security law, expanding the definition of what constituted a violation.

Mr. Xi’s fortitude to highlight the threats posed by foreign entities and the government’s strong approach to issues of national security are echoed through the publicity given to Mr. Huang’s case.

“The authorities are, in this way, advertising the fact that there is severe punishment available for crimes against national security,” legal scholar at King’s college London, Eva Pils said. “I would read this as intending to produce a kind of warning effect.”