Chinese defector to US leaked key secrets: Report
LING Wancheng, the younger brother of China's disgraced former presidential aide Ling Jihua, has reportedly divulged state secrets to the United States, including how China's nuclear weapons launch system works and the personal security details of its top leaders, after fleeing to the US in late 2014.
Washington Free Beacon (WFB), a US investigative news website, reported on Wednesday that US intelligence officials have completed questioning the 56-year-old businessman and concluded that he was their most valuable defector from China in 30 years.
According to the report, Mr Ling defected to the US with more than 2,700 copies of secret documents belonging to the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), following the arrest of his 60-year-old brother in December 2014.
The latter, who led the General Office - which handles day-to-day logistics and bureaucratic functions of the CCP - from 2007 to August 2012, was a confidante of former president Hu Jintao when the latter was in office until he was succeeded by Xi Jinping in late 2012.
Some overseas Chinese media said the WFB report is perplexing as the younger Ling would only endanger the life of his brother, who is facing many criminal charges, including having received a large amount of bribes and violated political discipline, if he had really surrendered state secrets to the US.
"How could he bargain for a reduced punishment for Ling Jihua if all the secrets were already leaked to the US?" the Radio Free Asia, which is affiliated to the US government, has asked.
The secrets that Mr Ling was said to possess included the procedures that Chinese leaders must follow should they decide to use the nuclear weapon in an emergency, the report said.
Mr Ling also reportedly could provide details about the Zhongnanhai compound, where the Chinese leadership reside, and information that would help US cyber-spies access files and messages of Chinese leaders.
The WFB report said Beijing is eager to have Mr Ling repatriated because he now constitutes a huge security threat with the information he holds.
However, Chinese media have reported that it is as yet uncertain whether Mr Ling is a US citizen, which could stop him from being sent back.
They also pointed out that Beijing might not have any ground to arrest him since he had not committed any crime in China, except if he was found to have run away with sensitive documents.
Meanwhile, some Hong Kong media said Meng Jianzhu, China's security czar, has disclosed at an event that Mr Ling has already leaked vital state information to the US.