Chinese-language anti-communist media and Twitter are abuzz this week with rumors that a vice minister of State Security, Dong Jingwei defected in mid-February, flying from Hong Kong to the United States with his daughter, Dong Yang.
Dong Jingwei supposedly gave the U.S. information about the Wuhan Institute of Virology that changed the stance of the Biden Administration concerning the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dong is, or was, a longtime official in China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), also known as the Guoanbu. His publicly available background indicates that he was responsible for the Ministry’s counterintelligence efforts in China, i.e., spy-catching, since being promoted to vice minister in April 2018. If the stories are true, Dong would be the highest-level defector in the history of the People’s Republic of China.
Dong’s defection was raised by Chinese officials last March at the Sino-American summit in Alaska, according to Dr. Han Lianchao, a former Chinese foreign ministry official, before defecting after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. In a Wednesday tweet, Han, citing an unnamed source, alleged that China’s foreign minister Wang Yi and Communist Party foreign affairs boss Yang Jiechi demanded that the Americans return Dong, and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken refused.