Two Canadian citizens who ran a coffee shop on China’s border with North
Korea are being investigated on suspicion of stealing state secrets,
according to China’s official Xinhua news service.
Kevin and Julie Dawn Garratt had been living in China since
1984 and had opened Peter’s Coffee House in Dandong in 2008. The
Garratts’ coffee shop was one of few western establishments in the city
and overlooked the Friendship bridge across the Yalu river from China to
North Korea, where Chinese military traffic frequently travels back and
forth across the border.
The Chinese investigation appeared to be a tit-for-tat response
to an announcement by the Canadian government last week that it had
been the victim of a Chinese cyber attack.
“I’m guessing that this might be retaliation for the Canadian
claim that Chinese state actors broke into Canadian computer systems,”
said Shi Yinhong, director of the Centre of American Studies at
Beijing’s Renmin University. “These mutual accusations of spying paint
an ugly shadow on the picture of bilateral relations.”
Wang Junsheng, of the Institute of International Relations at
the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, suggested the move
might be intended to show that China was also a victim of espionage.
“The western world has been frequently accusing China of
hacking and spying recently,” he said. “We may guess that this is
China’s way of reminding people that there is a lot of penetration into
China as well.”
Canada’s government alleged last week that its National
Research Council had been hacked by “a highly sophisticated Chinese
China dismissed the claim and said the accusation was “irresponsible”.
Canada’s embassy in Beijing said
yesterday it was aware of reports that two of its citizens had been
“placed under investigation” and that it was still gathering information
about the case.
The Xinhua report did not say whether the couple had been
detained but their 27-year-old son Simeon, who lives in Vancouver, told
the BBC that he had not been able to contact his parents since Monday
“They were going to dinner with a couple of friends, and some
time between dinner and later that night their phones were turned off
and no one has really heard from them [since],” he said.
Mr Garratt said the accusation of espionage was “a joke”, adding: “I thought it was absurd. It makes absolutely no sense.”
The location of the Garratts’ coffee shop on such a sensitive
border crossing may have raised eyebrows at China’s state security
bureau. However, the coffee shop’s website says it is metres from the
Friendship Bridge and the “perfect stop-off while en route to or
returning from the Hermit Kingdom”.
凯文?高(Kevin Garratt)和朱莉亚(Julia Dawn Garratt)从1984年起长期居住在中国，并于2008年在丹东开设了彼得咖啡室(Peter’s Coffee House)。两人的咖啡店是西方人在丹东开设的为数不多的店铺之一，从咖啡店可以看到横跨鸭绿江的中朝友谊桥。
加拿大政府上周指控，加拿大国家研究委员会(National Research Council)的计算机系统遭到“一名极其老练的得到中国政府支持的行动者”的黑客攻击。