Sunday, June 26, 2011

The "honey sex trap": not the Chinese style

Foreign Correspondent trailer 8
As a small boy I enjoyed reading at my parents' attic all the redundant copies of the Readers Digest, offering me a first look into the adventures of the Cold War. My favorites were all those stories about seductive Russian women, who tried to get state secrets out of those brave men, defending western values: diplomats, politicians and journalists. Honey traps, they were called.

Decades later, when I was preparing for my stay in China as a foreign correspondent, I was of course eager to explore more in-depth this issue in this other major communist nation. Unfortunately, as with more issues, China dealt with this issue in a rather different way than the Russian practices. Having sex was off limits for China's secret agents, I discovered. My other colleagues and also diplomats confirmed my observation:the  China secret service did not offer sex for secrets, even when you pretended you have really very interesting things to tell.

So, we turned this around. When we suspected somebody to be spying on us, we tried to have sex. If they agreed, we knew they were _not_ spying on us. If sex was not on the agenda, they were spies and we dumped them.

When I saw the news - provided to us by Wikileaks - that a Chinese minister was trapped by getting involved with a Chinese spy, I was confused for a minute. Fortunately, finance minister Jin Renqing was trapped by a Taiwanese spy, although she pretended she was of the mainland. Minister Jin must have known better. Mainland spies do not have sex when in duty, Taiwanese might.

Unless the policies have changed of course. I should check that out.
(Earlier published at Fons Tuinstra's Home)
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