China has launched a website for the public to report on spies and those engaging in activities endangering state security and attempts to “overthrow the socialist system”.
The site, http://www.12399.gov.cn, was launched in Mandarin and English on Sunday and it promises to provide “material or spiritual reward” as an incentive to Chinese citizens to report spies. The website provides a platform for people to provide anonymous tips or reports through their real names. But the Ministry of State Security has stated that real-name reporting is recommended.
The list of acts that should be reported include collusion with overseas institutions, organisations or individuals to endanger the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security of China. It has also listed using religion or organising “heretical cult organisations” to engage in activities endangering state security as acts of subversion that should be reported. It also states that any foreigner who willfully meets with any person within China who has conducted activities endangering state security or strongly suspected of doing so should also be reported. The move is seen as an attempt to ensure that dissidents of the Chinese political system do not have access to foreign visitors including journalists.
The ministry has warned against providing false tip-offs.
The website is one of steps China has taken against foreign espionage. It launched a national hotline 12339 in 2015 where citizens could report anyone they believed was taking part in anti-national subversive activities.