China’s new spy chief a specialist on U.S., Japan and economic espionage
China last week replaced its top intelligence officer with his second in command. Geng Huichang, vice minister of state security, took over for current Minister of State Security Xu Yongyue, who was slated to retire.
The Ministry of State Security ran Katrina Leung, an L.A. businesswoman posing as an FBI informant, for 2 decdes.
Geng is also said to be an expert in industrial and economic espionage and analysts view his appointment as a shift by China toward obtaining trade secrets.
The appointment comes prior to the four-yearly major Chinese Communist Party meeting set for next month.
The Ministry of State Security is China’s main civilian intelligence service and is oriented to gathering intelligence abroad and especially infiltrating foreign intelligence services.
The MSS was behind the highly successful Chinese spy case of Los Angeles businesswoman Katrina Leung, who operated for nearly 20 years as a double agent for China while posing as an FBI informant.
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U.S. officials said Geng is a specialist in international relations who focused on U.S. and Japanese affairs and worked in the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, an MSS front that frequently interacts with U.S. government officials and academics. Geng was both deputy director and director of CICIR from 1985 to 1993. He became vice minister in 1998.
Geng’s writings include reports such as “U.S. Politics Will Continue Its Right Turn in the 1980s — An Analysis of the 1980 U.S. Population Census,” and “Japan's Policy on the North-South Issue and Its Trend of Development.”