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Leaked Internal Documents: Experts Enlisted for Cyber Army’s Reconnaissance Operation

On March 24, 2023, China’s Ministry of Public Security’s Eleventh Bureau issued an internal notice announcing plans to organize over 40 “experts in cyber intelligence, big data system construction, and data mining” from across the country to engage in a month-long period of “Special Reconnaissance Operations ” in Beijing from March 27 to April 27, 2023. The main objective of this operation was to “send personnel to participate in the battle for public opinion against overseas ‘Internet armies’ and effectively safeguard political security online.”

The leaked notice, suspected to have been obtained through email hacking, revealed that the operation was undertaken by the “Twenty-Fourth Division of the Eleventh Bureau,” led by a person named “Hu Fengming” (胡凤鸣). Several “Public Security Bureau Network Security Defense Brigades” were mentioned in the notice, which also included a list of 32 participating police officers with their real names.

The Network Security Defense Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, also known as the Eleventh Bureau, is an internal agency responsible for handling criminal cases related to computers and information networks. It oversees the management of the national public information network security police, commonly known as the “Internet police.”

The leaked notice was independently verified by China Digital Times (CDT) through online searches and cross-referencing, confirming the identities of some of the listed police officers. As of now, CDT has confirmed that 11 individuals are indeed Internet police officers from various regions (with some screenshots as evidence), leading to the belief that the leaked notice is genuine.

It appears that Chinese authorities are aware of the leak and have taken action. As of the time of this writing, the Baidu Baike pages (Chinese encyclopedia) of the individuals on the list have been taken offline. Weibo (a popular social media platform) has also cleared all names from the list.

Source: China Digital Times, May 24, 2023