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Chinese spies in Australia on the rise, former diplomat Chen Yonglin says

ABC News ABC News 20/11/2016 Andrew Greene

Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin is seen in the central business district of Sydney in this June 14, 2005 © REUTERS/Tim Wimborne Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin is seen in the central business district of Sydney in this June 14, 2005 Chen Yonglin, the Chinese diplomat who sensationally quit his job more than a decade ago, has broken a lengthy silence to warn of a growing number of spies and agents working for Beijing in Australia.

In 2005, Mr Chen caused global headlines when he claimed China was operating a network of "over 1,000 Chinese secret agents and informants in Australia".

The former diplomat, who now works as a businessman, has warned the number of secretive Chinese operatives has steadily grown since he stopped working for China's foreign service.

"There should be some increase after over 10 years because China is now the wealthiest government in the world, they should have money, they should be [able] to afford raise a huge number of spies here," he told ABC News.

He stressed the increase was mainly in casual informants who provided crucial pieces of intelligence to Beijing.

Chen Yonglin says the number of Chinese operatives working in Australia has risen. © Provided by ABC News Chen Yonglin says the number of Chinese operatives working in Australia has risen. Since successfully seeking political asylum in Australia, Mr Chen said he had become growingly concerned about Beijing's influence in his new home.

He believes that of particular concern is last year's decision to approve a 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin to Chinese-owned company Landbridge.

"I think it's very stupid. It's common sense that Darwin Port is strategically important and against the northern invasion," he said.

Mr Chen has also hit out at activists who have recently taken to the streets to show support for China's military expansion in the South China Sea.

"A majority of Chinese community representatives work for the Chinese Government," he said.

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