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New book details Chinese spy effort ahead of Olympics

February 27, 2008

PARIS, 26 Feb (AFP) - As athletes train for the summer Olympics in
China, a new book claims that the country's vast spy network is
gearing up for a different challenge - keeping an eye on journalists
and potential troublemakers.

French writer Roger Faligot, author of some 40 intelligence-related
books, has penned 'The Chinese Secret Services from Mao to the Olympic
Games', due out February 29.

His findings claim that special teams are being formed at the
country's embassies abroad "to identify sports journalists ... and to
define if they have an 'antagonistic' or 'friendly' attitude in
regards to China."

Potential foreign spies who may seek to enter China by posing as
journalists or visitors will be subject to special surveillance.

The same goes for human rights activists who could use the event to
demonstrate in favour of causes such as Tibet, where China has
violently crushed protests against its rule, it says.

That's not to mention the long list of other issues preoccupying
Chinese authorities, including the possibility of an Al-Qaeda attack
and protests from the Falun Gong spiritual movement. China has
outlawed Falun Gong, which combines meditation with Buddhist-inspired

"The watchword for the Chinese is 'no problems at the Olympics,'" Faligot says.

Faligot, who is fluent in Mandarin, says he spoke with numerous
Chinese officials.

According to him, two million Chinese work directly or indirectly for
the intelligence services through the state security agency.

In a chapter titled 'China: Gold Medal for Espionage', the author says
the director of the group coordinating Olympic security, Qiang Wei,
has a 1.3-billion-dollar (885-million-euro) budget.

An Olympic security command centre has been created "in order to
assure a response to all risks in real time".

Olympic organisers admitted last year to budget overruns caused by
extra expenditure on security at the Games, the biggest international
event ever staged in communist China.

Last September, China's then-police chief Zhou Yongkang said that
"terrorist" and "extremist" groups posed the biggest threat to the
success of the Olympics.

He did not elaborate, but China has previously accused some members of
the ethnic Muslim Uighur community in the nation's far western region
of Xinjiang of terror-related activities.

In the year leading up to the August 8-24 Games, the Chinese army will
have organised 25 exercises on how to respond to crises, including a
chemical attack on the subway.

The teams being formed in foreign embassies will work in conjunction
with "different Chinese intelligence services under diplomatic cover".

Those intelligence services will include the secretive 610 office, set
up in 1999 to target the Falun Gong movement and which operates

But the intelligence services won't only be deployed during the
Olympics to keep an eye out, Faligot says. They'll also be recruiting
among the two million visitors expected for the event.
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