November 28, 2015:
Officials in two Chinese coastal provinces (Jilin opposite Japan and Hainan facing the South China Sea) have established a hotline for tips from citizens who suspect foreign visitors of spying. This program is based on the suspicion that foreign agents, posing as tourists or business travelers, are going to coastal provinces to recruit Chinese to gather information where they live and email it to their foreign handlers. While this makes sense in theory in reality foreign intel agencies get what they need via spy satellites and local Chinese posting to the Internet. Chinese social media sites and the Chinese media are an excellent intelligence resource. Although still a police state and possessing a huge state censorship organization (which spends most of its efforts on the Internet) China has become quite open. One of the best sources of military information are from the millions of patriotic Chinese who are constantly (and proudly) reporting the latest developments in the Chinese military. Much of this is posted on the Internet, often including cell phone pictures and videos. The government has had a hard time censoring this sort of thing, especially as it does not want to suppress the enthusiasm of young Chinese for their military and new military technology. The new spy hotline is apparently more of a propaganda program to maintain popular support for Chinese aggression in nearby waters where China is claiming islands and vast expanses of sea that, according to international law (which China agreed to) that it has no real claim on.