Dangerous Love on National Security Education Day


April 15 was China's first annual National Security Education Day, observed with speeches and distribution of materials to raise awareness of security problems. The images below come from a two poster campaign called "Dangerous Love" (危险的爱情)that appeared in residential communities all over Xicheng in Beijing.  To join in the first National Security Education Day, we have translated it below.

Related Translations: China’s Counter-Espionage Law China’s National Security Law China’s Cybersecurity Law (DRAFT)

A foreign friend has organized a gathering tonight…You’re always trying to increase your foreign language level, why don’t you go with me?
WXAX2My name is David and I’m a visiting scholar researching issues about China. I’m really interested in chatting with all of you.
Everybody please introduce yourself and say a little something about your work. Let’s start with this pretty lady.
–Oh, OK!.
Xiao Li: I’m Xiao Li, I just tested into the civil service after graduating college and work in a foreign publicity (propoganda) department.
David: OK
After that party, David began to meet with Xiao Li often and gave her gifts.

DAVID: You’re pretty, sweet and exceptional; Honestly I fell for you the first time I saw you.

WXAX6Having a handsome, romantic and talented foreign boyfriend is pretty good.



The two begin a romantic involvement.
DAVID: Dear, what exactly do you do at your work?
XIAO LI: I write internal references as a basis for central policies.WXAX8DAVID: Great! Lend me those internal references so I can take a look. This will really help me write academic articles.XIAO LI: I can’t, we have a confidentiality system.
IMG_0710DAVID: Dear, do you still need to keep secrets from me? I’m just taking a look to use in academic articles.
XIAO LI: Unh, OK then.
XIAO LI: This is a copy I made, give it back as soon as you’re done.

DAVID: Relax, Sweetheart.

WXAX11What happened? David hasn’t called me recently, and his phone is always off.


OFFICER: Are you Xiao Li? We’re from the State Administration of National Security. Please come with us.XIAO LI: What? What’s going on?
OFFICER: David is an overseas spy in China to steal political and military information, and we have already captured him. Did you provide him with these ‘internal references?’
XIAO LI: What?


XIAO LI: I didn’t know he was a spy; he used me!
OFFICER: You show a very shallow understanding of secrecy for a State employee. You are suspected of violating our nation’s law.




A warning from the National Security Organs: According to Chapter 1 on crimes endangering national security, article 111 of the Criminal Law of the P.R.C.: Whoever steals, secretly gathers, purchases, or illegally provides state secrets or intelligence for an organization, institution, or personnel outside the country is to be sentenced from not less than five years to not more than 10 years of fixed-term imprisonment; when circumstances are particularly serious, he is to be sentenced to not less than 10 years of fixed- term imprisonment, or life sentence; and when circumstances are relatively minor, he is to be sentenced to not more than five years of fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention, control, or deprivation of political rights.


Article 27 of Chapter IV of the Counter-Espionage Law provides that : Where extraterritorial institutions, organizations or individuals carry out, or instigate or financially support others in carrying out espionage activities, or where an institution, organization or individual within the territory linked to a foreign institution, organization or individual conducts espionage activities, and it constitutes a crime, it is pursued for criminal responsibility in accordance with law.



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  1. Was this meant as an object of ridicule? Because the scenario depicted is a bog-standard espionage device, used by intelligence services around the world. Gain the subject’s trust and then ask for something of value.

    They left out the part where the foreign spy comes back with the evidence of wrongdoing and threatens the source with exposure if she doesn’t keep producing, or help to recruit others. This stuff really happens.

    • Not sure what you mean. I don’t think the National Security Agency that made the posters intended them as objects of ridicule at all, but was trying to educate the public on increasing vigilance. I can’t explain why they omitted any content.

      If you are suggesting that our faithfully reproducing it here with English translation is ridicule, I can’t really see how – It’s a glimpse of the actual publicity campaign for the first ever National Security Education Day in China, that those outside of China would otherwise miss.

      I think what people find amusing is the execution, not the credibility of the threat. Similarly, the FBI’s “Game of Pawns” video, was unquestionably based on an actual case and risk, but was mocked for its bad production values and acting. https://www.fbi.gov/news/videos/game-of-pawns

      Here the choice of a comic strip format and the choice of a white male academic seducing a young Chinese female are all intentional decisions, interesting and worthy of scrutiny. It puts me in mind of WWII era posters with similar themes, like the “Don’t even try, she might be a spy” posters, or the racist depictions of Japanese listening in to U.S. secrets http://cache4.asset-cache.net/gc/590677427-propaganda-poster-from-wwii-poster-warning-gettyimages.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=9QMziWNtBI6whP66vhs4oZj1V2MOgZHWSNy8kri092eHec9sAB2M0JpFrbjWja3pArr77xdQXsJEK%2BQgHsTiMa%2FBeNVw3qegfDrc4DF94FM%3D

      • It certainly has been mocked all over the English speaking China web the past few days. “LOL foreigners are dangerous don’t date them they’ll steal your sekrets! How stupid!” has been the attitude.

      • Well, they had to make a decision, it would be object for scrutiny regardless of which one it turned out to be. The execution is rather low key anyway, nothing outrageous by any means. And no people are generally not aware that this is handbook espionage, go figure…

  2. Don’t agree with “foreign publicity department”. “Publicity” is China’s new preferred translation of xuanchuan, but there’s no reason we should conform to the Party’s preferences. A reader who doesn’t know Chinese is never going to understand why “foreign publicity” is sensitive, or even what it means. (They might think it means a foreign advertising agency, for example.) How about “foreign-related propaganda department”?

    • Lot’s of people saying they see them inside residential communities and hutongs. Just bike around inside the second ring.

  3. What is the context of this? Who is it being distributed to? If it’s internal use only then it’s hardly different that what other countries do.

    • As the intro says, it appeared in most residential communities in Xicheng district of Beijing and also other downtown areas. I don’t think it is all that different from what other places do– take a look at some of the comments above.

  4. What a load of horsecrap. Espionage was this way maybe 40 or 50 years ago or more but everything today is electronic media and usually by inside agents. This is nothing more than “We want to label foreigners as criminals”. The Chinese men are no better and in most ways worse to women there. Absolutely ludicrous. As if.

  5. no “Don’t even try, she might be a spy” posters on yahoo or bing
    by the way, chinalawtranslate thumbs up

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