Chinese whispers: spy outs himself, gives little away

Dominic Giannini |

Eric, a former Chinese spy, estimates 200 secret intelligence officials are working in Australia.
Eric, a former Chinese spy, estimates 200 secret intelligence officials are working in Australia.

A former Chinese intelligence officer who says he has carried out espionage overseas has unveiled his identity to a group of journalists outside parliament and rebuked his former masters.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     On a chilly winter’s day, the spy, who used the pseudonym Eric, said he was going public because he wanted to tell the world how the Chinese government spies on other countries and hunts down dissidents.        
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Choosing the 35th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Eric issued a defiant rallying cry to more than 100 Falung Gong members meditating in yellow shirts outside Parliament House.

Eric, a former Chinese spy
The former spy revealed his identity on the 35th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

“The world still knows very little about these secret missions, I will continue to reveal more of these in the future,” he told the crowd through a translator on Tuesday.

“The Chinese Communist Party does not take into account whether you are a religious, ethical person or if you are an immoral criminal. 

“When dealing with you it only considers one thing – if you’re on their side or not.”

The Falun Gong group is persecuted in China.

The former intelligence officer said he operated in India, Cambodia and Thailand before seeking refuge in Australia.

The 39-year-old was responsible for infiltrating local people and authorities, largely without the local embassy’s knowledge to ensure his work’s effectiveness. 

He did not provide further details about himself, nor documents to support his claims.

Speaking to AAP after addressing the Falun Gong event, Eric estimated some 200 secret intelligence officials would be working in Australia.

The agents included 50 or 60 from the Political Security Protection Bureau that acts as a clandestine extra-judicial police force, Eric said, under the guise of a pseudonym.

There would be a similar number from the Ministry of State Security and the military respectively, he said.

There would also be around 30 people from the nine to 11 Chinese provincial levels, he said. 

Eric also believed there would be about 1000 community informants working through communist party arms such as the United Front and that some Australian citizens would have been turned to help spy for China.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong
Penny Wong says Australia remains concerned about restrictions on freedom in China. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

The Chinese embassy in Canberra has been contacted for comment.

The federal government and opposition also used the 35th anniversary of the massacre, where hundreds of civilians were killed in a crackdown against protesters, to call for China to stop its repression of political freedoms.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong marked the anniversary by remembering “the tragic events and loss of life” from the brutal use of force.

“Australia remains concerned about ongoing restrictions on freedom of association, expression and political participation in China,” she said in a statement.