Chinese spying on Auckland church - paper

Aukland, New Zealand - A Chinese government spy with the code name "180" has infiltrated a Christian church in New Zealand, a Hong Kong newspaper linked to the Falun Gong spiritual movement reports.

The Epoch Times newspaper, which also has offices in New York and Sydney said on its website yesterday that its reporter in New Zealand, who it did not name, interviewed a Chinese defector in Australia, Hao Feng Jun, 32, who has told Australian officials he worked as a security officer in Tianjin in China's north.

In the telephone interview, Hao Feng Jun claimed that Chinese Government spies "pry into the affairs of New Zealand churches and Falun Gong".

"Hao Feng Jun told the reporter that there was a spy with the code name "180" in New Zealand providing the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) with information on the local church."

The Chinese government has branded Falun Gong as a cult.

Mr Hao has previously said he worked for a branch of a security service known as 6-10, set up specifically to wipe out Falun Gong, and that he smuggled into Australia documents from a police computer in China when arrived as a tourist in February. He has since applied to be accepted as a refugee.

Another Chinese defector, diplomat Chen Yonglin, 37, has since abandoned his post at the Chinese consulate-general in Sydney and claimed China had some 1000 spies working in Australia.

Mr Hao has told the ABC's Lateline programme that China has a large spy network operating overseas, including businessmen and students sent to overseas countries as spies.

In the Epoch Times interview, conducted on June 29, Mr Hao said there was a Christian church in Auckland, New Zealand, that was referred to as an underground church in China.

The church, referred to in the interview as "Church A" had invested in a steel products business in Shanghai.

The spy with the codename "180" travelled back and forth between New Zealand and China, and last year, held a fellowship meeting in Tianjin that was monitored by the city's Public Security Bureau.

Information he collected included instructions to him by Church A in New Zealand regarding plans to manage the company in Shanghai in order to gain more members in China and to spread Christianity among the company employees, Mr Hao said.

"He reports this information back to the Hongqiao district police whom he works for," he said.