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Chinese Ministry of State Security: ‘Military Fans’ at High Risk of Becoming Espionage Targets

China’s Ministry of State Security has issued another stern warning about the potential national security threats posed by military enthusiasts, or “military fans.” The ministry says this group is a high-risk target for espionage, theft of secrets, and leaks involving military matters.

In an article titled “Another Reminder for ‘Military Fans'” published earlier this month, the ministry outlined several specific risks pertaining to this community’s activities. The article states that military fans could inadvertently “guide” foreign intelligence operations by revealing sensitive military information, their online military forums and groups could become channels for overseas theft of secrets, and individual military fans could become targets for “screening and enticement” by foreign personnel acting as “insiders.”

On March 7th, the ministry’s official WeChat account delved deeper into the risks involved. The WeChat post noted that Chinese military fans obsessively track developments of advanced weapons and equipment, closely following details such as equipment quantities and models, troop locations, and aircraft serial numbers. They establish databases compiling this sensitive information and share it on websites, constantly expanding and refining the available data. “As time goes by, this information will become increasingly rich and professional, to the point of endangering military security,” the Ministry of State Security warned.

This is not the first time that Beijing has raised alarms about the activity of military fans. On December 23rd of 2023, the Ministry cautioned fans against leaking information on construction progress, technical specifications, or deployment details of new military equipment. The Ministry’s communication at that time stated that violations could result in prison sentences of 3 to 7 years. China’s security establishment clearly views information gathering and sharing by these military enthusiasts as a critical risk to be proactively addressed.

Source: Radio Free Asia, March 20, 2024