A Chinese spy has reportedly defected to Australia, bringing with him a massive cache of intelligence secrets from the notoriously secretive country.
Wang “William” Liquiang, who described himself as a former Chinese intelligence officer, has revealed to Australia’s counter-espionage agency, ASIO, how the Chinese government runs its political interference operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australia.
The news was first reported by the Australian newspaper The Age, and Wang has also spoken with The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes.
The Age reported that Wang is the first Chinese operative to “blow his cover,” and that he’s pleading with the Australian government for protection and currently hiding at an undisclosed location in Sydney.
In a video clip of his interview with the news outlets, Wang said the Chinese government told its agents to pose as pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and sent him “to their camp to find out all about their activities.”
He said he didn’t initially believe such activities were espionage.
“At the time, the word ‘spy’ didn’t cross our minds. We just thought that those things were the tasks we needed to do for the country,” Wang said.
Demonstrators clash with police during a protest against police violence during previous marches, near China’s Liaison Office, Hong Kong, China July 28, 2019.
He went on to say that the main reason he decided to seek asylum in Australia was when he was sent to Taiwan.
“I was given the task to go to Taiwan. This time I was told to change my name and whole identity and be a spy there,” Wang said. “Once I was found out, then my safety would be at stake. What would my family, my young son do? Who could protect me? I know very well that the Chinese Communist Party can never be trusted. Once I go back, I will be dead.”
Wang has written a 17-page plea for political asylum, The New York Times reported, in which he gave up information such a code names of secret operations, business ventures, and his own personal views about China’s record on democracy and human rights.
The Times reported that Wang’s account has not yet been verified — but if it is, it will be the most detailed public insight available into China’s actions in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“I do not want to see Taiwan becoming a second Hong Kong,” Wang wrote in his plea. “And I would not become an accomplice in the conspiracy of turning an originally democratic and free land into autocratic land.”
Australia’s minister for foreign affairs confirmed to The Times that its office received Wang’s statement.