Washington, Mar.19 (ANI) The Chinese intelligence service spends most of its time not only trying to steal secrets from overseas but also on ways to bolster Communist Party rule by repressing religious and political dissent internally, claims a spy who has defected to the United States.
"In some sense you can say that intelligence work between two countries is just like war but without the fire," Li Fengzhi told The Washington Times in an interview aided by an interpreter.
Li worked for years as an Ministry of State Security intelligence officer inside China before defecting to the United States, where is he awaiting a response to his request for political asylum.
He gave a rare, detailed interview to The Times on Sunday regarding the activities of the MSS, China''s Communist-controlled civilian spy agency.
His prior work as a Chinese spy was confirmed to The Times by a Western government source familiar with his defection.
The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of Li''s case.
Li told The Times that the MSS focuses on both counterintelligence - working against foreign intelligence agencies - and the collection of secrets and technology.
The MSS, however, is unique from other nations'' intelligence services in that it is patterned after the former Soviet Union''s KGB political police.
Its most important mission is "to control the Chinese people to maintain the rule of the Communist Party," he added.
Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, did not address Li''s comments directly but repeated past Chinese government statements regarding its intelligence activities.
"Allegations of China conducting spying activities against the United States are groundless and unwarranted," he said.
Li said he left China''s intelligence services to protest the agency''s role in government repression of political dissidents and religious groups that are outside of the ruling communist system.
In the interview, he also said:
• China''s spy agency is focused on sending spies to infiltrate the U.S. intelligence community, and also on collecting secrets and technology from the United States.
• China is censoring the Internet to prevent the population from knowing about what occurs outside the country.
• An internal MSS manual that is kept secret from most officers outlines the primary role of the service as the promotion of Communist Party''s interests.
• Ongoing cooperation between the CIA and FBI and the MSS in countering international terrorism can be constructive, but U.S. agencies need to be cautious because the MSS is mainly an organ of the Chinese Communist Party, and does not directly serve the interests of the Chinese nation or people.
Li was born in 1968 in northern China and was first recruited into a provincial Chinese intelligence service before being promoted to the MSS in Beijing after several years. (ANI)