Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, a journalist with Axios, published an article on Dec. 22, on how an agent of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) contacted her posing as someone with a high position within an important institution, only to later blatantly ask her for the name of her sources in exchange for a substantial sum of money.
Allen-Ebrahimian was one of the reporters who published the story about the Chinese spy, Christine Fang, whose objective was to interact and get intimate with American politicians to gather intelligence information.
The journalist said that a person named Aaron Shen, who supposedly worked as an assistant to the director of the China Center for Contemporary World Studies, contacted her via LinkedIn where they established a conversation.
Allen-Ebrahimian, a China specialist who in fact lived and studied in Beijing noted that “the China Center for Contemporary World Studies—the in-house think tank of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee,” that is, a headquarters for spies of the CCP.
After a short personal exchange, Aaron asked her how she managed to get “firsthand information” during the pandemic, and that they were “troubled by lacking channels and sources to gather the firsthand in-depth information we need for our research and consulting work.”
This video has English subtitles:
The Chinese spy immediately took an unexpected turn by telling her that they placed a lot of value on “information sources” with “authority” that could “reflect the true situation and trends of the U.S.-China relations.”
“If the contributions can really reflect the real situation and meet our demand well, the remuneration will be generously paid without doubt,” Shen wrote to the journalist.
“It was a surprisingly clumsy attempt to gain insider information about the U.S. government’s China policy,” Allen-Ebrahimian’s reaction to attempts to bribe her for her sources, something an investigative journalist holds most sacred.
The Chinese spy said he wanted to know “the policy standpoints and considerations on the issue of punishing and blocking certain entities and individuals of China by the means of imposing sanctions, enforcing long-arm jurisdiction, putting pressures on allies, and so on.”
When she asked Shen his real identity and motives behind his contact, Shen deleted his LinkedIn account.
Allen-Ebrahimian, reflecting on the motives of the Chinese spy in contacting her and asking her to reveal her sources, believes that because relations with the CCP have deteriorated so much during the four years of the Trump administration, plus restrictions on movement due to the CCP Virus, have reduced the ability of these individuals to access internal information in Washington D.C. without being caught.
“This was a remarkably clumsy attempt to gather information,” said Allen-Ebrahimian.