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Chinese Authorities Find Hundreds of Illegal Meteorological Detection Sites

Chinese authorities have discovered hundreds of illegal foreign-affiliated meteorological detection sites transmitting weather data to other countries in real-time during an ongoing nationwide special operation, according to an official post.

The Ministry of State Security published the post on its WeChat account on Tuesday, saying that these illegal sites were found in more than 20 provinces across the country, posing risks to national security.

Since the beginning of this year, three central government bodies — the Ministry of State Security, the China Meteorological Administration and the National Administration of State Secrets Protection — have carried out a nationwide operation to inspect the management of foreign-affiliated meteorological detection sites in accordance with the law.

They have investigated more than 10 overseas meteorological equipment agents and inspected more than 3,000 foreign-affiliated meteorological sites, including the hundreds that were found to be illegal.

The post stated that some of the illegal sites are funded directly by foreign governments, and some of the observation points are located near sensitive areas such as sites related to the military and national defense enterprises.

Other illegal sites are located in China’s major grain-producing regions, and their data analysis is related to crop and grain production. Furthermore, some of the sites even transmit data in real-time to official meteorological agencies in other countries to serve their national security and weather monitoring needs, it said.

The equipment found on these sites is compact, easy to install and difficult to detect, and it has the ability to automatically collect and transmit data over the internet in real-time.

The Ministry of State Security said these sites have not been granted administrative permits from, nor submitted weather data to, China’s meteorological authorities. Furthermore, they have transmitted such data to foreign countries without approval from the meteorological department, violating the regulations on foreign-affiliated meteorological detection and data management, as well as the Data Security Law.

The ministry warned that meteorological data includes information about satellites and radar systems. Such data is also related to national security, food security, ecological security and more.

Illegally collecting and transmitting meteorological data across borders endangers China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, the ministry said.

To safeguard meteorological data security, the China Meteorological Administration, the Ministry of State Security and the National Administration of State Secrets Protection jointly issued regulations on foreign-affiliated meteorological detection and data management in 2022.

These regulations require foreign entities wishing to establish meteorological detection sites to get administrative permits. In addition, these sites cannot be established at national defense and military sites, areas that are not yet open to other nations, places in which key engineering construction is occurring and other areas involving national security.

The ministry also reminded citizens or organizations engaged in meteorological detection to protect their data, and not collect and transmit data that affects national security and interests.

Source : china daily