CHINA - There is an increasing risk of the online disclosure of State secrets, experts said, after a man surnamed Li was convicted of releasing military secrets through the Internet.
Li was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing military secrets in Guangdong province, the Guangdong provincial department of State security confirmed on Monday.
According to a statement by the department, a foreign spy nicknamed "Brother Fei", contacted Li via an instant messaging tool on May 2011. A month later, Li began helping Brother Fei procure military secrets.
Li frequently visited Guangdong military facilities, purchased military publications that were intended for circulation only within those facilities and disclosed military secrets to Brother Fei via the Internet, authorities said.
Li's actions threatened national security, authorities said.
Authorities said Brother Fei has a history of recruiting people in Guangdong province to help steal military secrets.
From 2007, Brother Fei successfully recruited 12 people there to steal military secrets, according to the authorities. The alleged spy recruited another 40 people across other parts of the mainland by targeting online bookstores and websites devoted to the Chinese military.
More than 70 per cent of cases involving theft of State secrets disclosed information online, authorities said.
Dai Peng, director of the criminal investigation department of the People's Public Security University of China, said it is getting easier to leak military and State secrets online.
Some Chinese military facilities and bases are not far from the reach of the public, and "people may not be aware that they are disclosing military secrets online", Dai said.
Dai said a fan of the military, for instance, might post a picture of a new plane on his or her micro blog or on an online forum, which will arouse the attention of overseas organisations.
While information spreads quickly online, "it's necessary to popularise judicial knowledge, telling the public what information must be protected", Dai said.