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Online Glossary of

Chinese Espionage Terms

and photos on CCP intelligence history.


This website contains material that we could not include in our published work, Chinese Communist Espionage: An Intelligence Primer (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, US, Nov. 2019).

The Online Glossary, available just below on this page as a .pdf file, contains hundreds of phrases in Chinese from the world of human intelligence, signals intelligence, cryptography, and other related fields, with references showing their origin in Chinese and other published works whenever possible. We regularly update this list with new terms (last update, 23 May 2020)

We are working to upload and organize photos to help introduce the people, places, and events in CCP intelligence history that hitherto have been difficult to locate outside of the Chinese speaking world.

We have only scratched the surface in this under-examined area of intelligence studies and scholarship on modern China, and hope that researchers will be encouraged to further explore the subjects we have raised and those that remain unexplored.

Click the .pdf icon just below to download the glossary.

Chinese Communist Espionage is available from online booksellers
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The Authors

PETER MATTIS is the Deputy Staff Director of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). He previously was a fellow at The Jamestown Foundation and edited its biweekly China Brief from 2011 to 2013. He also worked as a counterintelligence analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. He lives in Washington, DC. These views are his own and do not represent the CECC or any member of Congress.

MATTHEW BRAZIL, PhD is a non-resident fellow at The Jamestown Foundation. He worked in Asia for over 20 years as an Army officer, American diplomat, and corporate security manager. He consults and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Matt is researching a second volume n this topic: an integrated, narrative history of CCP espionage from the revolution to the present day, meant to be accessible to the general reader.

Sign up for Matt's newsletter,

Chinese Espionage Research Updates, at 

other publications by the authors

P. Mattis: Analyzing the Chinese Military

M. Brazil, "China" in Encyclopedia of ...

Mattis and Brazil in Jamestown China Brief

My Books


"This is an important and timely book. Brazil and Mattis place China's sustained campaign of espionage in context. Chinese Communist Espionage From the Revolution to the People's Republic is a must-read for all who play a role in protecting free and open societies from this pernicious threat to security and prosperity."

--H.R. McMaster, author, Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam

“As the US and China appear headed towards an increasingly adversarial relationship that is divided not just by trade disputes, but by territorial conflicts in the South and East China Sea, Taiwan, as well as completely opposite political systems and values, the question of the Chinese Communist Party’s intelligence-gathering operations and influence seeking abroad gains new importance. 

In this painstakingly researched and very detailed effort to pierce the veil of Chinese opacity, Brazil and Mattis have helped limn both the history and current dimensions of the still shadowy world of Chinese intelligence and counterintelligence operations.”

Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations, former Dean and Professor at the University of California, Berkeley

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