Beware of 'exotic beauties' spy trap, China says, as it warns against leaking state secrets

China has warned its citizens not to be tempted by the ruse of "exotic beauties" used by foreign spy organisations as a means to blackmail them.

In a post on China's WeChat platform, the Ministry of National Security published a cautionary tale entitled, "Hunting for beauty? You might be the prey!", about a man called Li Si being enticed by "exotic scenery, neon flashing, swaying lights, and alcohol stimulation" on an overseas trip in an unspecified country.

It ends with China's secrets being leaked to the foreign spy agency, continuous threats to Mr Li for further information even on returning back home, and his eventual arrest for breaching national security.

Beijing has been cracking down on perceived threats to its national security, revealing several cases of spying that it caught in recent years.

The government has been warning its citizens in the country and abroad of the dangers of getting caught up in espionage activities. It has been encouraging people to join counter-espionage work that includes creating channels to report suspicious activity.

Mr Li's 'nightmare'

Mr Li's story starts with him choosing an "exotic" girl, which leads to foreign spies "hunting" him down.

The ministry writes that he is taken aback when several "burly foreigners" burst into his private room, take photos of him naked and order him to follow them against his will.

The "spies" then threaten to send Mr Li's "pornographic photos" to his colleagues and bosses back home should he not comply with their demands, the post says.

Paralysed by fear and in order to end this "nightmare", Mr Li submits to joining the spy organisation where he is forced to provide sensitive intelligence on China but could never make the other party "satisfied".

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The story continues with Mr Li handing over his "classified" computer - already a violation of confidentiality according to the ministry - which results in "all the classified information on the computer for the past 10 years falling into the hands of the spy organisation".

It adds Mr Li's "nightmare was far from over", with the other party constantly contacting and blackmailing him into providing additional secrets.

"In the end, Li Si could only continue to paralyse himself and completely become a puppet at the mercy of overseas spy agencies, causing immeasurable harm to our national security," the post goes on.

The story concludes with Mr Li's detention and him facing a "strict trial".

The post advises citizens to be vigilant, to not be "fooled", to delay or refuse to join spy organisations, and not to hide anything from authorities otherwise the situation could exacerbate.

It also reassured citizens lured into espionage organisations that a counter-espionage law could spare them from being held accountable providing they "promptly and honestly" explained the situation to relevant agencies or national security bodies when entering China.