China has arrested a security official on suspicion of spying for and passing secret government information to the United States. The official was the personal secretary of a vice minister in the State Security Ministry, China’s main intelligence agency, according to Hong Kong’sNew Way magazine.
"What is unbelievable is that the person involved in this spy case is a secretary to a vice minister who is handling China's top secrets, which means all the confidential documents sent to the vice minister pass through the secretary first," a report on the magazine read.If the act of spying is proved, it would be a third blow to the Sino-American diplomatic relations in the recent months. Both Beijing and Washington remain silent on the case, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declining to comment on the reports during her visit to Norway on Friday. According to local Chinese press as well as Reuters, the Chinese official, whose name has not been mentioned in reports, was recruited by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after he “fell into a pretty woman trap” set by the American spying organization. He was blackmailed into agreeing to pass secret information on China’s overseas spying activities to the US after he was photographed with the woman, the reports suggested. His arrest was conducted sometime between January to March 2012. China and US diplomatic relations have been strained over the past months. Head of China’s Communist Party in the city of Chongqing, Bo Xilai was fired from his position in March after the city’s police chief fled to the US consulate in the city of Chengdu in the Sichuan Province. Moreover, blind human rights Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng caused a diplomatic stir last month when he sought refuge in the US embassy after escaping house arrest. He then moved to the United States. Beijing has demanded Washington to apologize for keeping the activist. However, the US has refused to issue an apology. AO/HJL/AZ