Leaked secrets lead to jail time

CHINA - A former economic analyst has been jailed for leaking State secrets, a legal officer for a Beijing court said on Wednesday.

Lin Songli, 42, a former macroeconomic analyst for Guosen Securities, a leading Chinese financial services firm, received a six-month sentence in April for divulging classified economic statistics to a former colleague, according to the capital's Xicheng district people's court.

Lin was convicted of intentionally disclosing five classified items on Dec 10, 2010, through instant messaging and cellphone text messages, Wu Xianya, an officer of the court, told China Daily.

"Lin kept in touch with an old colleague named Li while he was still working in the security company, and told Li five macroeconomic statistics that were not allowed to be disclosed by the government as they were talking on MSN," he said, adding that the new case is not the first case about leaking State secrets in his court.

In September, two officials were jailed for the same reason at the district court.

Sun Zhen, a former official for the National Bureau of Statistics, received five years in prison for leaking 27 classified items between June 2009 and January 2011.

Wu Chaoming, a former research fellow at an institute under the People's Bank of China, the central bank, was also convicted of leaking 25 items in relation to China's confidential economic data and sentenced to six years.

The statistics leaked by the two officials included those about China's industrial added value output, gross domestic product, consumer price index, broad money supply and narrow measure of money supply, according to reports.

Meanwhile, 14 Nankai University alumni were also involved in the cases. Wu Chaoming, a graduate of the university, revealed secret data to seven alumni through text messages, and Wu Zhiwen, one of the receivers, later passed on the classified items to others at the university, said the court.

At the end of 2011, the court gave a sentence of five-and-a-half years to Wu Zhiwen, who received most of the classified data, for illegally obtaining State secrets.

These cases also aroused attention among law and sociology professors.

Wu Ming'an, a criminal law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said leaking State secrets, such as economic and diplomatic data, will harm society and the wrongdoers face criminal punishments.

People who leak State secrets and bring serious results face at least three years in prison, while those who tell classified information to foreigners face the death penalty, according to Chinese Criminal Law, Wu said.

"The sentence is related to how many secrets the convict leaked, how many times the secret is passed on and how many people know," he said, adding that wrongdoers leak such information mostly for economic interests.

"In addition, some officials and senior experts have no awareness of keeping State secrets and don't know that what they are told can't be disclosed to others," he added.

Lu Huilin, a sociologist at Peking University, agreed with Wu and said the public cannot attribute the leaks solely to the alumni.

"Alumni are good ways for people to seek jobs, make friends and design their career plans. After all, it's a kind of necessary social resource," he said.

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