German political scientist arrested, accused of spying for China for 10 years

A political scientist at a German think tank has been arrested on suspicion of intelligence gathering for China and is scheduled to appear in a district court in Munich on the same day, the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced Tuesday (July 6).

In accordance with German privacy regulations, the prosecutor’s office disclosed the suspect’s name only as Dr. Klaus L. He has been working for the Chinese government since 2001. He has worked as a political scientist at a think tank since 2001, and there are reports that he also runs the think tank in addition to being a political scientist.

The prosecutor’s office filed charges against the academic in a Munich district court in May, and the court issued an arrest warrant for him on June 21, while police arrested him on Monday (July 5).

According to a statement issued by the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the German academic named Klaus was approached and paid by Chinese intelligence agencies when he traveled to Shanghai in June 2010 to give a lecture. He is accused of regularly passing information to Chinese intelligence agencies before and after state visits or international conferences from then until November 2019.

The prosecutor’s office noted that Kraus provided intelligence to China primarily from information provided by “high-level political figures” he contacted, met and befriended over the years in his capacity as a think tank scholar.

Kraus is accused of accepting Chinese hospitality to travel to China, meeting with Chinese intelligence officers and receiving payments from them after providing information to the Chinese.

The prosecutor’s office did not say how much Krauss was paid by China for spying for it, nor did it disclose the name of the think tank where he worked.

But Reuters, citing German public broadcaster ARD, reported that the think tank Klaus worked for was the Hans Seidel Foundation, which has close ties to Germany’s Christian Social Union (CSU), a sister party of Chancellor Angela Dorothea Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). But the Munich-based Hans Seidel Foundation was not immediately available to comment on press inquiries.

The timing of the announcement by the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office is quite unusual. The day before it was announced, the day of Klaus’ arrest, Chinese President Xi Jinping held his second video summit in three months with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, in which all three expressed their desire to develop trilateral relations between China, Germany and France, as well as China-Europe relations.

It is not known whether Xi and Merkel are aware that a spy who provided intelligence to China was arrested in Munich on the same day.