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‘Close window shades’: Plane passengers ordered to do so by China’s anti-spy agency at military-civilian airports

SINGAPORE: China’s anti-spy agency has urged plane passengers to keep window shades down during take-off or landing at military-civilian airports, warning of potential national security risks if this is not followed.

Sensitive military information could be leaked if photos or videos were taken, explained the Ministry of State Security in a WeChat notice on Monday (Jun 24).

As the name suggests, military-civilian airports are used for military and civilian aviation. These dual-use facilities often deploy important military equipment, said the ministry, adding that taking pictures or videos of such sensitive assets or areas is prohibited.

The anti-spy agency also referenced a recent case involving a foreign national, noting that it has garnered plenty of attention and discussion online.

The state-run Global Times, citing local news reports, reported that on Jun 12, a foreign passenger on a flight to Beijing from Yiwu, Zhejiang had allegedly used his phone to photograph a military-civilian airport by wedging it outside the window shade. 

The incident was reported by a fellow passenger, and Yiwu airport staff said the matter would be reported to the police. The post of the incident on social media platform Weibo has been read more than 85 million times, according to the Global Times.

In its post on Monday, the Ministry of State Security also cited a similar case at another military-civilian airport along the southeastern coast. During take-off, a passenger surnamed Liu ignored cabin crew reminders and placed his phone “between the aircraft’s window shade and the window”. 

Liu then repeatedly lifted the window shade and recorded the airport’s surrounding facilities, buildings and military aircraft, intending to show the