After being accused of the most damaging case of treason in Chinese history, Ling Wancheng wants it known that he hasn’t been sharing state secrets with the US but rather “golf secrets.”
Ling recently made waves when he was suspected of providing nuclear secrets as well as personal information on Chinese leaders to the US. But lawyer Gregory Smith from Washington has inexplicably claimed that his client “came to the US to share golf secrets, not state secrets,” reports Reuters.
Here’s Smith’s statement on behalf of Ling:
The absurd rumours that he is in possession of a large number of secrets, including keyboard nuclear codes, and rumours that he has handed over state secrets to the US government, reported by media outlets, is a baseless lie and a groundless defamation, and he reserves his right through me to take action as appropriate.
The media outlets Smith is slamming are the Washington Free Beacon and the Financial Times, both of which declined to comment. Also not commenting are the US State Department, US Department of Justice, and the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement, the latter of which is restricted by confidentiality rules on the matter of Ling’s possible application for asylum. Joining the chorus of absolute silence are China’s Foreign Ministry and its Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
Ling has come under so much scrutiny on account of being the brother of Ling Jihua, the disgraced chief of staff to former president Hu Jintao. Last year saw Ling Jihua’s dismissal amid the government crackdown on corruption. He’s now awaiting trial for bribery.
Whether or not treachery runs in the family, former CIA China analyst Christopher K. Johnson reckons that the US would be wise to hold on to Ling Wancheng. “One presumes he is a valuable asset. His brother was certainly in a very sensitive position in China, and would have had access to some very sensitive information,” said Johnson. “How much and to what degree did he pass this information on to his brother? That is the big question.”
In any case, it remains unclear what golf has to do with anything.
By Pinky Latt