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China Uses Comic Book To Warn Women About Foreign Spies

Image: CNN

The Chinese Government wants you to know that the handsome foreigner you’re dating might actually be a western spy. And to spread the word, they’ve been distributing a series of manga strips to remind women to think twice before beginning a new relationship with westerners.

Of course, they are absolutely right. To demonstrate, let’s run through a little hypothetical scenario that I am sure will be instantly recognizable to any regular Men’s Trait reader:

You’re in Beijing on your way to your job down at the local Politburo, when a stranger stops you to ask for the time. Instantly, you’re struck by how handsome he is. He is clearly not from Beijing, as his pale skin and mane of fiery, unkempt hair demonstrate. Struggling to collect your thoughts, you pull out your watch. “Why, it’s 8:30,” you reply.

“Thank you miss,” he answers in slightly atonal Mandarin, “I should hate to be tardy to my class at the local university.”

You’re intrigued by the moment and by this handsome foreigner. “May I ask, how is it that you speak such good Mandarin,” you inquire. The stranger sheepishly smiles and confesses he is a visiting student studying Chinese Literature.

He offers his name with an outstretched hand, “David.”

You take the hand gingerly in your own, your skin flushing furiously, and reply timidly, “Wei.”

David asks if you would be interested in showing him some of the local sites, and against your own judgment, you consent. There is something about him you can’t describe, and you instantly know that you could deny him nothing.

Over the next few weeks, you fall madly in love with David, and you are sure he feels the same. You begin to talk about the possibility of marriage, and moving to the exotic city of Manchester, and maybe even a few children.

Then one day, after a few cups of wine, he asks a question that leaves you conflicted.

“My dear,” he begins in his charmingly accented Chinese, “would it be possible to see some of the documents you’ve been working on recently at the Politburo? It would help me so much… for my research you see.”

Such a thing would be a grave crime indeed. But you’re already hopelessly lost in his striking blue eyes.

He has the air of an English Gentleman, the kind you’ve only read about in Jane Austen novels. But secretly, in your heart of hearts, you have yearned for this moment. Only your diary and the walls of your childhood bedroom have borne witness to this silent hope. This dream, which your sensible upbringing bid you not dream time and time again, for you knew it could never be. But still, you hoped that perhaps someday an English gentleman might come along to sweep you off your feet to a foggy green manor. An estate in the country where you would spend your mornings with warm cups of tea in the foyer and your evenings with quiet reflection of classic literature and lavish dinner parties. Absurd, of course, you know. Yet in this moment, with this charming, exotic man, you feel it creeping timidly into the fragile realm of possibility.

If you were to grant David his simple request, to help him with his research, it could all be yours.

“Well, if it’s for your research.”

The next day, David fails to appear for your scheduled walk around the park. You become worried and try to phone, only realizing then that he never gave you a number. Stricken with grief, you realize you’re almost late for work and are forced to rush off to the office.

That afternoon, two ominous looking men in uniform show themselves into your office.

“Ms. Wei,” one says gruffly. “Do you know this man?”

Image: CNN

He holds aloft a photo, and your heart drops when you recognize David’s soft features.

“Why, yes, did something happen?”

“Come with us.”

And just like that, you’re being tried for treason against the People’s Republic of China, for you’ve fallen victim to the oldest ploy in espionage: the honeypot. David was a spy, and he played you for access to state secrets.

Or at least that’s the bizarrely intricate scenario that I and the Chinese government have now jointly constructed.  You see, the West will do anything to bring low the last true government of the proletariat. They will even defraud the simple, earnest heart of a Chinese girl. You should be wary of these capitalist dogs.

And what better way to spread awareness than by cartoons?

All around Beijing, an intricate 15-page comic version of this story has been displayed by the Government in order to warn local women of the dangers of foreign men who turn out to be spies.

The reaction to this has ranged from guffawing incredulity to anger at the implication that a woman would need to be warned about non-existent spies, lest their excitable emotions override their devotion to the state.

Others have warned that this marks the kind of paranoia not seen inside China since the days of Mao. William Nee, Amnesty International’s China Analyst had this to say:

 The government hopes to send out a signal of deterrence to warn anybody who may be in a similar position of disclosing state secrets to a foreign organization, while at the same time, giving the general public the perception that spies and potential spies may be in their midst, right at their side.

It might be a sign of a return to frostier relations with the People’s Republic, or it might be the kind of tone death public service announcement you might expect from any government. I for one am just looking forward to the first round of photoshops to hit social media. Should be pretty great.

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