Ex-Chinese minister was caught in 'honeytrap:' cable

Ex-Chinese minister was caught in 'honeytrap:' cable

When Jin Renqing stepped down for what the Chinese government claimed were "personal reasons" at the time, there was widespread speculation that he was in fact sacked for his role in a sex scandal as well as some economic blunders.

But in a once-secret US State Department cable released by whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks earlier this month, a US official said investigators believe the woman was in fact a "Taiwan intelligence operative."

The alleged spy, described as a "promiscuous socialite" in the memo dated September 20, 2007, has allegedly also been having affairs with "several" other top-level Chinese officials, including former agricultural minister Du Qinglin, who then served as Sichuan Party Secretary.

The memo said Jin, who had overseen the nation's economic boom over his four-year tenure, had been introduced to his mistress by oil giant China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) chairman Chen Tonghai, who had also slept with her.

And Chen in turn "shared" that woman with Du Shicheng, a former party secretary of Qingdao, where the sailing events of the 2008 Olympic Games will be held, according to Hong Kong newspapers at the time.

"The woman was introduced to these men as 'someone working with a Chinese military intelligence department,'" according to the cable.

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