If some reports are to be believed, then China's Vice Minister of State Security Dong Jingwei would be the highest-level defector in the People's Republic of China's history.
There have been some reports that a high-ranking Chinese minister along with his daughter has defected to the United States and is unveiling information about the controversial Wuhan lab and its supposed source of the Covid-19 pandemic.
China's Vice Minister of State Security Dong Jingwei was alleged to have flown from Hong Kong to the United States with his daughter in February this year. But neither the United States nor China confirmed the rumoured development.
It was Dr Han Lianchao, a former Chinese foreign ministry employee turned pro-democracy campaigner in the United States, who claimed that Dong had defected. According to Dr Han of the Citizen Power Initiative for China in Washington, senior Chinese and American officials reviewed the matter when they met in Alaska in May.
Nicholas Eftimiades, a former CIA and Pentagon expert on China who first reported the purported development in the SpyTalk newsletter, said that Dr Han was "trusted for his integrity", but he also noted that the suspected defection was "exactly what it is, a rumour". According to a report by The Telegraph, such rumours about Chinese officials defecting happen all the time, said Eftimiades, but he pointed out that such news was not always true.
According to Spy Talk, which broke the storey citing "Chinese-language anti-communist media and Twitter outlets," Dong, who served as a prestigious counterintelligence head at Minister of State Security (MSS), also known as the Guoanbu, would be the highest-level defector in the People's Republic of China's history.
However, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission's social media account claimed that Dong had spoken at a counter-espionage conference on 18 June, warning spies to be wary of "insiders" who work with anti-China organisations and those who support their activities behind the scenes. But the agency did not reveal any details about the venue of the seminar.
This news came at a time when the world is looking for a conclusive answer for Covid-19 origin, and United States President Joe Biden asked the intelligence agency to deliver a report on it within 90 days. So, there is a lot of speculation that if Dong did take refuge in the United States, he might have a lot of information about the pandemic origin and the probable leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). But China has denied a lab leak theory several times.
According to a former American government official who worked on Wuhan lab leak theory under the forty-fifth President Donald Trump's administration: "If you offer $5 million and citizenship there'll be plenty of people wanting to defect. We have been…looking for needles in haystacks. We need human intelligence. We need to hear from Chinese people who were direct witnesses. Then you're off to the races".
According to ANI, Dr Han claimed in a tweet that China's foreign minister Wang Yi and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi demanded that the Americans release Dong and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken refused, citing an unnamed source.
Even though experts have stated that unsubstantiated allegations of defections appear on a regular basis, any defection or revelation by a Chinese official would be extremely humiliating for the CCP ahead of the party's 100th anniversary on 1 July.