Chinese Military Newspaper Rails Against CIA, Calls for 'People's War' to Fight U.S. Spying

The official newspaper of China's military has called for a "people's war" to fight against U.S. espionage efforts targeting the East Asian nation.

CIA Director William Burns told agency personnel earlier this month that the foreign intelligence service would launch a new China Mission Center with the goal of monitoring and countering Chinese activity. Burns said that the mission center would "further strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century, an increasingly adversarial Chinese government," The Washington Post reported.

Chinese state-controlled media began circulating a viral video clip over the past week that claimed the CIA was actively recruiting native speakers of Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka and Shanghainese, according to Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The People's Liberation Army Daily, the Chinese armed forces' official publication, slammed the CIA's efforts.

"The U.S. intelligence service, which is so blatantly recruiting special agents, must have more sinister and unbearable methods behind it," the PLA Daily said in a Sunday post to Chinese social media site Weibo, SCMP reported.

CIA floor logo
A Chinese military publication has called for a "people's war" against CIA efforts to spy on China. In this photo, a man crosses the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) seal in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia on August 14, 2008. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

"No cunning fox can beat a good hunter. To maintain national security, we only need to trust the people and rely on the people," the post continued.

It argued that a "people's war" was necessary to protect the nation from intelligence threats and "make it impossible for spies to operate and hide themselves."

Zhao Lijian, China's foreign ministry spokesperson, blasted the CIA announcement a day after it was reported.

"This is a typical symptom of the Cold War mentality," Zhao told reporters at a press conference on October 8.

"Relevant U.S. agency should view China's development and China-U.S. relations in an objective and rational light and stop doing things detrimental to mutual trust and cooperation between China and the U.S. and China's sovereignty, security and development interests," he said.

U.S. intelligence leaders and lawmakers have increasingly raised concerns about what they view as the growing threat from China, as the East Asian nation's economy continues to grow rapidly and the country asserts its influence throughout the world.

Chinese hackers have reportedly carried out major cyberattacks targeting the U.S. and there are growing concerns about potential military confrontation in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, the two nations' economies remain deeply intertwined. Recent supply chain issues caused by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic have reiterated the immense trade ties between the U.S. and China. Former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden both have centered China as a key foreign policy issue to be addressed—including trade disputes and security concerns.

Newsweek reached out to the CIA for comment but did not immediately receive a response.