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New Chinese spy chief an expert on commercial intelligence, monitoring group says (EN)


vendredi 31 août 2007, sélectionné par Spyworld


China’s new spy chief is an expert on commercial intelligence whose appointment signals a shift of emphasis to obtaining and protecting trade secrets, a monitoring group said Friday.

Geng Huichang was promoted from vice minister to minister of state security on Thursday as part of a major Cabinet reshuffle ahead of a twice-a-decade Communist Party congress in October. The ministry has long been regarded as China’s version of the former Soviet Union’s infamous KGB.

However, to allow it to focus more on commercial intelligence, some of its duties will now be shifted to the military or the Public Security Ministry, which is in charge of police, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported.

Experts in the United States and elsewhere say China may be appealing to businesspeople and academics of Chinese origin to gain classified information on new technology, especially with possible military applications.

Little else is publicly known about Geng, 55.

According to the center and Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao Daily News, Geng spent most of his career conducting research on international relations, authoring numerous articles and papers on American politics.

He headed the government-backed China Institute of Contemporary International Relations until 1995, when he was reassigned overseas, the center said.

A vice minister of state security since 1998, Geng delivered a lecture at the Commerce Ministry in February on techniques for protecting and obtaining commercial secrets, the center said. It said he also contributed to a 1993 book on international trade.

One of the few pieces of information available online about Geng is a Greek government account of his visit to that nation’s Ministry of Public Order last year, for a briefing on Olympic security ahead of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games.

Geng is also cited as explaining China’s military modernization in a 1992 paper, saying it was mainly a response to events overseas such as the 1991 Gulf War, rather than a desire to assume greater international influence.

"The use of high-tech modern weaponry during that war had a great psychological impact on those countries and has promoted them to renew their weapons systems," Geng wrote.

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