Ex-Xinhua journalist gave Japan ‘secrets’

Kyodo News

A Chinese court sentenced Yu Jiafu, a former reporter at the state-run Xinhua news agency, to 18 years in prison in early May for distributing state secrets to Japanese and South Korean diplomats in 2006, an Australian newspaper has reported.

Yu was found guilty of handing out state secrets to diplomats, including Japanese Ambassador to China Yuji Miyamoto and former senior South Korean diplomat Li Jiaxian, The Australian said in its online edition recently.

Miyamoto said Thursday through the Japanese Embassy in Beijing that he cannot comment on specific diplomatic activities, but sees no problem because the envoy respects Chinese laws.

Yu, 62, has admitted that he gave information to the diplomats but his lawyers told the Beijing court that the information he distributed was already widely available, the newspaper said.

Yu’s daughter, who immigrated to Australia and became a citizen in 2007, said the family was considering appealing, the paper said.

Yu was put under house arrest from July 31, 2007, by the State Security Bureau of Langfang, Hebei Province, and arrested on Dec. 21 the same year, it said.

He was found guilty of obtaining illegal profit by providing South Korean diplomat Li, who was deployed in China, with information on China’s foreign policy between November 2006 and July 2007.

The Chinese court alleged that Li, who has since retired and returned to his homeland, was a South Korean intelligence agent and Yu knew this but continued to supply him with information at a string of meetings in hotels.

Before his 2007 arrest, Yu had retired from a senior position at the news agency, where he was a longtime expert on Japanese and Korean affairs, rising to run Xinhua’s foreign affairs group, said The Australian.

Yu requested that the Japanese and South Korean diplomats stand and give evidence in his support in the Beijing court but they declined, the paper said.

Miyamoto became the ambassador to China in April 2006.

Another report said Miyamoto may have paid Yu about ¥3 million.