New Chinese Spy Museum Off-Limits To Foreigners

Digital Journal, May 1, 2009.

The new Jiangsu National Security Education museum in Nanjing, which celebrates the history of Chinese espionage, is unlike any other of its kind—it’s off-limits to foreigners.

In fact, its employees are so vigilant about guarding its exhibits that they even refused to give out their full names when contacted by the foreign media.

Since it opened its doors (partially, of sorts) on April 13, it’s attracted about 500 visitors, all citizens of the People’s Republic.

Its director—who identified herself only by her last name, Qian—told the press that most people, who’re denied entry to the premises are “pretty understanding” and they realize that “this is not [an] average museum.”

Surely, it has an unusual system for screening. Qian was quoted as saying, “People who look like Westerners are turned away immediately at the door” while “those who have Chinese features and look “clean” are ushered in without checks.

The museum has a collection of items such as tiny pistols and guns, camouflaged as fountain pens and lipsticks and maps as a deck of cards, documents hidden inside hollowed-out coins, explanations of wire-tapping techniques, and uniforms of the intelligence services.

“In an era of spy satellites and cyber-espionage, the exhibits described by Qian sound almost quaint,” wrote The Associated Press.

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