Honk kong residents spied for mi6
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Hong Kong residents spied for MI6, says Beijing
By Richard Spencer in Beijing
Three British passport holders from Hong Kong have been arrested while visiting China and accused of spying for MI6. They were arrested over the course of the last year, but the charges have only now come to light.
The Chinese government is waging a campaign to discredit pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong as "unpatriotic" and the charges conform to official propaganda that the former colony is a "nest of spies".
British and American support for wider democracy is part of a plot to undermine Chinese rule there, and even the regime in Beijing, Chinese authorities claim.
The wife of one of the three, Chun Yu-lam, 53, said last night that her husband worked in the Hong Kong office of a mainland firm and was summoned to a meeting across the border. When he arrived, he was arrested; "kidnapped", as she put it.
He was put on trial in secret last week, accused of passing information to MI6 agents in Hong Kong before the handover, when he was working for the Xinhua news agency, Beijing's unofficial representative office at the time.
"It's ridiculous," his wife, Chu Tung-tung, said. "They said everyone who worked in the Hong Kong government's political office then was an MI6 agent, and so everyone who spoke to them from Xinhua was spying for Britain. But it was my husband's job to speak to the political office."
She said information he was accused of handing over included telephone numbers freely available through Hong Kong directory inquiries.
Mr Chun left the agency in 1993 and applied for a British passport before the handover.
A spokesman for the British embassy in Beijing said the three had all entered the mainland using their Hong Kong residency papers rather than their British passports, which entitled the Chinese authorities to refuse to allow consular access.