Analysis: “China’s spies are becoming increasingly Russian in their actions”

Säpo describes the woman’s actions as “security-threatening activities”, which have been going on for over ten years.

What the suspicions are about is kept secret by Säpo, but by all accounts it is about illegal intelligence activities, perhaps even espionage, which Säpo has long warned against.

In Sweden, the concrete Chinese espionage cases have long been conspicuous by their absence, except for a couple of cases of refugee espionage that have gone to court.

“Completely unique”

The case that is now unfolding is described by people with insight as completely unique from a Swedish context. What is unusual is partly that a concrete case of Chinese espionage is discovered and acted upon, and partly that the woman taken into custody acted under journalistic cover.

But from an international perspective, there are so many cases involving alleged Chinese journalists that it suggests that the Chinese intelligence service planned to use this method.

• In 2021 it was discovered that the UK expelled three Chinese spies who acted as journalists in the country.

• During the past year, information has come from Hong Kong about fake Chinese journalists who tried to infiltrate the democracy movement.

• Last year it was revealed that a Chinese journalist in the US is suspected of spying after secret meetings with other countries’ diplomats were revealed.

For Sweden, something similar has never been revealed before.

Expelled in silence

Instead, Chinese espionage has been involved defensively. It has been the question of visiting researchers and students who were primarily involved in industrial espionage.

Similar to how Great Britain acted in 2021, the government now chooses, after consultation with Säpo, to take the easy way out – and let the woman be quietly deported.

The alternative would have been to put her on trial, with all that entails in terms of media attention and subsequent diplomatic entanglements.