China Says Man Bought Military Secrets for 85 Cents

Military employees who were supposed to shred documents sold them to recycling center
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 14, 2024 4:35 PM CDT
China Says Man Bought Military Secrets for 85 Cents
A man passes by a mural calling for Military and Civilian Unity in Beijing, Thursday, June 13, 2024.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

A military history buff in China appears to have made an alarming discovery after picking up four discarded books for less than $1 at a neighborhood recycling station: They were confidential military documents. The country's Ministry of State Security told the story in a social media post on Thursday, praising the retired man for calling a hotline to report the incident. It identified him only by his family name, Zhang, and did not say what the documents were about.

The post describes Zhang as a former employee of a state-owned company who likes to collect military newspapers and periodicals. It says he found two bags of new books at the recycling station and paid 6 yuan (about 85 cents) for four of them. State security agents rushed to the station after Zhang reported what had happened, the post says. After an investigation, they found that two military employees charged with shredding more than 200 books instead got rid of them by selling them to a recycling center as paper waste—65 pounds in all—for about 20 yuan ($2.75). The agents seized the books and the military has closed loopholes in the handling of such material, the post says.

The post, which was reposted on at least two popular Chinese news websites, was the latest in a series by the powerful state security agency that appears to be trying to draw in new audiences with dramatic stories, the AP reports. Some have been told in comic-book style. The campaign seems designed to raise awareness of the importance of national security at a time when confrontation with the US is rising and both countries are increasingly worried about the possible theft or transfer of confidential and secret information.

(More China stories.)

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