Nov 22, 2019

Chinese spy defects to Australia, revealing nation's intelligence secrets

Chinese flags on road-lamps covered by trees, in Nanning, Guangxi Region, China. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Chinese spy has defected to Australia, offering a bevy of secrets on Chinese intelligence operations, according to Australian newspaper The Age.

Why it matter: Wang “William” Liqiang is the first Chinese operative to "blow his cover," The Age reports. He provided Australia information on Chinese political interference in Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, along with the identities of senior Chinese military intelligence officers in Hong Kong.

What's happening: Wang is "at an undisclosed location in Sydney on a tourist visa and seeking urgent protection from the Australian government," The Age writes.

  • In interviews, he has revealed how China controls listed companies to finances its intelligence projects, surveil and profile dissenters and co-opt media.
  • His testimony to ASIO, the Australian counter-intelligence agency, demonstrates "how Beijing’s spies are infiltrating Hong Kong’s democracy movement, manipulating Taiwan’s elections and operating with impunity in Australia," per The Age.

Duncan Lewis, the head of ASIO, on Friday said the Chinese government is "trying to place themselves in a position of advantage" through "insidious" foreign interference, per The Age.

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China summons U.S. ambassador to protest Trump signing Hong Kong bill

A protester holds a U.S. flag during a rally in the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

China summoned the U.S. ambassador on Thursday to "strongly protest" President Trump's signing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in support of protesters, state media report.

Why it matters: Trump signed the bipartisan congressional bill condemning Chinese interference in Hong Kong's affairs and supporting the rights of pro-democracy protesters as Washington and Beijing hold crucial trade talks.

Go deeperArrowNov 28, 2019

Finger-pointing over misjudging Hong Kong

Anti-government protesters shine phone lights at police as they chant slogans in Hong Kong yesterday. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Top Chinese leaders, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, "have been managing their response" to the violent protests in Hong Kong from a villa in Shenzhen instead of using the formal bureaucratic system that's been in place for two decades, Reuters scoops.

Why it matters: Under normal circumstances, Beijing and Hong Kong communicate through the Liaison Office, "housed in a Hong Kong skyscraper stacked with surveillance cameras, ringed by steel barricades," Reuters writes. This change shows the central government isn't happy with how the Liaison Office has been handling the protests.

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019

House passes bill expressing support for Hong Kong protestors, rebuking China

Pro-democracy protesters gather for a rally in Victoria Park, Hong Kong. Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images.

The House voted 417-1 on Wednesday evening in favor of the Senate's unanimously-passed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, sending the bill to President Trump's desk. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the sole "no" vote.

The big picture: The bill reaffirms the U.S.' commitment to supporting democracy and human rights in Hong Kong as it relates to city's autonomy. The legislation comes amid months of violent clashes between police and protestors in Hong Kong, and could set up a confrontation between the U.S. and China in the midst of Trump's high-stakes trade war. The White House has not yet commented on whether Trump intends to sign the bill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 20, 2019