China Warns "Military Fans" To Stop Posting Pics Of Sensitive Equipment
First time or occasional offenders may receive only a warning but repeat violators rule could be imprisoned for up to seven years.
China has warned amateur military enthusiasts to avoid posting photos of the country's sensitive military equipment online, saying they could endanger national security. According to a report in CNN, the warning has been posted by China's counter-intelligence agency on WeChat. It raised concerns about how "military fans" are spreading the word to the larger population through social media platforms like Weibo, which have hundreds of millions of active users, the outlet further said. These photos have become a common site as China is rapidly modernising its forces.
"This is a cool hobby, but you must be very careful. Some individual military enthusiasts severely endanger national military security by illegally obtaining information regarding national defence and disseminating them on the internet," CNN quoted China's Ministry of State Security as saying on WeChat.
"With a focus on military airports, ports, national defence and military industrial units, they drove to or took ferries or planes that pass by designated routes, and clandestinely photographed with telephoto lenses or drones," the civilian spy agency further said.
First time or occasional offenders may receive only a warning but repeat violators rule could be imprisoned for up to seven years, the agency clarified.
It particularly highlighted that these images could potentially expose technical details and progress in military equipment, such as aircraft carriers, and be used by "hostile foreign forces" to analyse combat effectiveness, South China Morning Post (SCMP) said.
It could impact defence planning by revealing the location of deployment and the type of military equipment.
The offenders who used professional equipment such as telephoto lenses and drones to secretly photograph military equipment were punished, the SCMP report said.
In 2021, one such person was sentenced to prison on charges of illegally obtaining state secrets after secretly filming the Fujian aircraft carrier.