(Bloomberg) -- China’s powerful spy agency made a public call on social media for citizens to join its anti-espionage drive, underscoring heightened concerns over national security in the world’s second largest economy.
“The entire society must mobilize against espionage!” the Ministry of State Security said Tuesday in its first post on Tencent’s WeChat. The ministry opened an account on the popular messaging platform a day earlier.
“Espionage is a highly concealed, professional and a harmful illegal and criminal act,” the post said. “It not only requires the national security organs to play the role of specialized counter-espionage agencies, but also requires the extensive participation of the people.”
It marks a ratcheting up of anti-spying efforts by Beijing that culminated in the April passage of a vague new counter-espionage law, which came into effect last month. That legislation expands the list of activities that could be considered spying, intensifying the risks for foreign firms.
The new account is meant to help the ministry promote awareness of the law, educate citizens about what to look out for and provide them with an easy-to-access way to report suspicious activities.
Read more: Xi Upends the Secretive World of $10,000-an-Hour China Experts
In recent months, Chinese authorities have raided consulting and due diligence firms that help global investors understand the Asian economy. In May, one such firm, Capvision Pro Corp., with headquarters in Shanghai and New York, was accused by Chinese authorities of leaking state secrets.
The law also sets out to “recognize and reward individuals and organizations that report espionage or make significant contributions to counter-espionage work,” the statement added.
--With assistance from Gregory Turk.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.