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Fishermen get huge reward for capturing foreign spy devices

2022/1/19 13:48:57   source:Global Times

Authorities in East China's Jiangsu Province have given huge rewards to 11 fishermen who captured suspicious foreign spying devices in Chinese territorial waters, winning applause from Chinese netizens on Tuesday for their vigilance of possible threats to maritime security.

Experts noted that it showed the Chinese citizens' awareness of safeguarding national security has increased in recent years as the international situation becomes more complex.

Jiangsu national security authorities rewarded 11 fishermen and five related personnel on Monday for capturing 10 suspicious foreign devices with spying functions in Chinese territorial waters since 2020.

After technical analysis of the items by relevant authorities, the 10 suspicious devices were found to have been made in other countries, and they had special functions such as underwater investigation, identification and theft, posing a threat to national security.

The commendations and rewards were an affirmation of the fishermen's moves in safeguarding national security, read an article by Jun Zhengping Studio, a commentary session run by the People's Liberation Army Daily, on Weibo on Tuesday.

As more people realize the importance of safeguarding national security, it is a common occurrence for coastal residents to discover suspicious devices underwater and hand them over to relevant departments for further investigation, it said.

The fishermen's move also sparked discussion on Chinese social media. Many netizens pointed out that all citizens have the obligation to safeguard national security and called for further education of fishermen over national security.

Relevant topics gained over 100 million views on Chinese Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of press time.

It was not the first time that such rewards were given to fishermen handing over suspicious underwater devices in China.

Fishermen in the coastal regions such as East China's Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and South China's Hainan Province have reportedly found various kinds of devices underwater.

Since 2016, Jiangsu has held annual conferences to reward fishermen in order to increase coastal fishermen's awareness of safeguarding national security, according to local media.

In 2021, a Jiangsu fisherman discovered a foreign device underwater that was later confirmed to be a new type of ocean unmanned underwater vehicle that could be used to measure hydrological data and environmental parameters, according to media reports.

As the international situation becomes more complex, it's common to see espionage and secret activities carried out by external forces in China's coastal areas, Li Wei, an expert on national security at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Li said that it could be an encouraging measure to set up award mechanisms to reward citizens who report suspicious activities, as maritime security is an indispensable part of safeguarding national security.

China has strengthened public education of national security during recent years, with some cities hanging banners and showcasing exhibition boards or brochures to enhance public awareness of the importance of national security.

In 2017, the Beijing government announced a new reward plan to encourage the public to report on spies. Citizens who provide useful information on spying will get cash payments of up to 500,000 yuan ($78,732). 

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