Home News Chinese ‘spy students’ based in Leuven

Chinese ‘spy students’ based in Leuven

Published on 11/05/2005

11 May 2005

BRUSSELS – Belgium could be harbouring Chinese spies posing as students, according to the Brussels-based European Centre for Strategic and Security Studies (ESISC).

The Chinese Students and Scholars Association of Leuven (CSSAL), based at the Flemish city’s Catholic Univeristy (KULeuven) may be infiltrated by ‘students’ conducted industrial espionage in the name of research, French daily Le Monde reported on Wednesday.

A bi-monthly newsletter published by the ESISC suggests there is at least one source at Leuven “placed high in a European information service”, and that there is “a true multinational network of economic information controlled from Belgium.”

According to ESISC, this service has been operating as part of several Chinese information services for more than two years “under the cover of a very traditional front: an association of students and trainees completely independent of Chinese diplomatic structures which, for obvious reasons, are not related to these operations.”

Moreover, this network consists of several dozen agents posing as trainees in companies and scientific doctoral students and is active all over northern Europe, including Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany and France and “is trying to introduce its moles in Central Europe”.

Their priorities are university laboratories, plus the pharma and high-tech sectors.

Leuven’s Catholic University is Belgium’s biggest and oldest – and has the highest proportion of Chinese students anywhere in the country. CSSAL has some 400 to 700 members, according to the AFP news agency. 

The thorny question of Chinese informants recently hit the headlines in France when Li li Whuang, a young Chinese intern at Valeo, was suspected of industrial espionage.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian News