Defection delivers Beijing’s nuclear secrets to Washington


Super Mod
Mar 24, 2009
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China’s most senior communist cadres have been told the party faces its most damaging case of treason since the founding of the regimen in 1949.

In a confidential speech to party cadres reported by two independent political magazines in Hong Kong, Meng Jianzhu, the country’s security tsar, revealed that the most closely guarded secrets, including nuclear codes, had been lost to America.

Mr Meng was reporting on the failure of his attempts to lure back a leading defector and the fallout of the incident.

The state secrets passed to Washington included personnel data, communications codes, nuclear weapons launch protocols and blueprints of the Zhongnanhai leadership compound, the magazines reported.

Ling Wancheng fled to the US after his brother Ling Jihua, the right-hand man of former president Hu Jintao, was brought down by a scandal caused when his Ferrari-driving son was killed in a spectacular car crash in central Beijing.

While Ling Jihua was detained by Chinese security, his brother escaped with a cache of 2700 classified documents as an insurance policy. The Chinese leadership sent a security delegation, headed by Mr Meng, to demand his extradition from the US last year but it returned empty-handed.

“While at the head of the party’s central institutions, director of the office of the party and the nation, Ling dared to steal top secrets from the archives in his trust and these were ultimately handed to the US,” said Mr Meng, who described the breach as the most serious in 60 years.

The magazines, Qianshao and Chengming, said three categories of classified information were handed to the Americans.

Plans for the Zhongnanhai leadership retreat, a heavily protected enclave of villas and lakes near the palaces of the emperors in Beijing, were transferred, with details of its security passwords and communications codes.

The second category included information on command and control systems linking the Communist Party central committee in times of crisis with the state council, China’s cabinet, and the Central Military Commission, the supreme command of the armed forces.

Third on the list were launch protocols and procedures devised to guarantee control over China’s non-conventional weapons, including its nuclear deterrent, by the party central committee and the CMC.

Mr Meng is reported to have spoken angrily as he detailed the case against Mr Ling at an internal party meeting in southern China.

Ling Jihua was at the heart of power until the present leader, Xi Jinping, took over in 2012. He was “responsible for the safety, health and confidentiality” of the members of China’s supreme ruling body, the Politburo standing committee, according to a profile prepared by Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution.

“He (was) also responsible for drafting key documents, collecting important information for decision-making and monitoring the implementation of central directives and the instructions of top leaders,” it added.

Chinese analysts believe the security chief’s speech may have been deliberately leaked to prepare opinion in the party for the eventual trial and conviction of Ling Jihua. The reports exculpated the man who now holds Mr Ling’s old job, Li Zhanshu.

Mr Li is even more powerful than his predecessor and accompanied the President on his tour of Britain, attending a state banquet with the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

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