China finds foreign-funded meteorological observation points in sensitive sites

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has discovered illegal foreign government-funded meteorological detection sites around sensitive places including military compounds, its state security ministry said on Tuesday.

Some of these observation points were set up around military units and military industrial enterprises, while some were located in major grain-producing areas that analyse the growth of crops and grain yield, the ministry said.

Some even transmit real-time information to official meteorological agencies overseas at high frequency and at multiple points, it added, calling the stations widely distributed in the country a “hidden risk to national security”.

The ministry said Chinese national security agencies, together with the meteorological and confidentiality departments, have promptly blocked the country’s meteorological data being exported after investigating.

The authorities investigated more than 10 overseas meteorological equipment agents, inspected more than 3,000 foreign-related meteorological stations in its crackdown on such sites nationwide.

The involved foreign parties, which were unnamed, did not have administrative licence for their activities, had not submitted the meteorological data to Chinese meteorological authorities and transmitted the data overseas without approval, China said.

(Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Michael Perry)