CHINA’S former finance minister resigned in August 2007 over a “honeytrap” involving a female spy from Taiwan who compromised him, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.
When Jin Renqing stepped down for what the Chinese government claimed were “personal reasons” at the time, there was widespread speculation that he was in fact sacked for his role in a sex scandal as well as some economic blunders.
But in a once-secret US State Department cable released by whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks earlier this month, a US official said investigators believe the woman was in fact a “Taiwan intelligence operative”.
The alleged spy, described as a “promiscuous socialite” in the memo dated September 20, 2007, had allegedly also been having affairs with “several” other top-level Chinese officials, including former agricultural minister Du Qinglin, who then served as Sichuan Party Secretary.
The memo said Jin, who had overseen the nation’s economic boom during his four-year tenure, had been introduced to his mistress by oil giant China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) chairman Chen Tonghai, who had also slept with her.
And Chen in turn “shared” that woman with Du Shicheng, a former party secretary of Qingdao, where the sailing events of the 2008 Olympic Games were held, according to Hong Kong newspapers at the time.
“The woman was introduced to these men as ‘someone working with a Chinese military intelligence department’,” according to the cable.
If the claims are true, Jin and other officials bedeviled by the mistress would have been victims to a “honeypot” operation by enemy Taiwan’s intelligence agency to obtain sensitive Chinese secrets.
Beijing considers Taiwan – where the mainland’s defeated nationalists fled in 1949 – to be a territory awaiting reunification.
But tensions have eased between Taipei and Beijing since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in 2008, pledging to beef up trade and allowing in more Chinese tourists.
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