MLess than four months after China reopened to the world following three years of zero Covid policy, many foreign businessmen are once again hesitant to travel to Beijing or Shanghai. Some companies even encourage the families of their expatriates to return home. This is particularly the case for the Japanese and, to a lesser extent, the Americans. The reason ? The proliferation in recent times of searches within foreign companies, even arrests of Chinese or foreigners accused of espionage.
THE FinancialTimes revealed that Shanghai police had recently raided the premises of Bain & Company, a major US strategy consulting firm, and seized computers and mobile phones. No Bain employees have been arrested. On March 20, employees of Mintz Group in Beijing were not so lucky. The five employees – Chinese – working in Beijing for this American company specializing in economic intelligence were arrested.
At the beginning of March, a Japanese working for the Chinese subsidiary of the Astellas Pharma laboratory was arrested. For espionage, we learned later. Japanese diplomats stationed in Beijing have had no access to any information about him. According to the Japanese press, at least seventeen Japanese have been arrested in China for espionage since 2015.
We have also just learned that in February 2022 Dong Yuyu, a Chinese journalist known for his liberal leanings, was arrested after having lunch with a Japanese diplomat. His family has just made the case public, as Dong Yuyu is due to be tried soon. He faces up to ten years in prison for espionage. His Japanese interlocutor was questioned for a few hours in defiance of the Vienna Convention which protects diplomats. According to our information, four diplomats working for a Western embassy were recently arrested for a few hours while traveling in the west of the country.
Michael Kovrig, one of two Canadians detained for over a thousand days for no reason in China after Canada’s arrest of Huawei’s number two Meng Wanzhou, wrote on Twitter: “Security organs are ever more powerful, controls are tightening, taboos that preserved decent behavior are eroding, paranoia is ever more acute and the ‘Great Wall’ of silence and isolation is still rising. upper… “
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