Not just Russia. Italy is also a playground for Chinese spies. The German federal prosecutor had a 75-year-old man arrested in Munich on his return from a trip to Italy on charges of spying on behalf of Chinese intelligence. In the German media the man is referred to as Klaus L., and, according to Deutsche Welle, he is a political scientist who since 2001 has directed the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Munich, the think tank associated with the CSU, the conservative party allied to the CDU. by Angela Merkel .
According to, the man in question would be Klaus Lange,director of the Institute for Transnational Studies (ITS), a think tank based in Germany, in Munich, and in Italy, in Gais, a small country in South Tyrol. Little and nothing is known about ITS, except for the information on the site (currently unreachable): it is a geopolitical consulting company with a focus on Asian affairs.
Lange, as reported by the international media, has a long history at the Hanns Seidel Foundation. According to the indictment, he was recruited by the Beijing Secret Service during a conference in Shanghai in 2010 and between 2010 and 2019 “he regularly passed information to Chinese intelligence on the eve of state visits or international conferences”. But the story is more complex: for the prosecution Lange would have served all these years as an agent of the Bnd, the German secret services, leading a double life between Munich and Beijing.
Arrested this Monday at the Munich airport in the company of his wife, he would be headed to Macau to meet Chinese intelligence officers. The arrest warrant was issued on 23 June last. Today Lange will appear before the Senate for the protection of the state of the Higher Regional Court of Munich.
The man accused of spying on behalf of the Chinese government has a long history with Italy. In fact, ITS has an Italian office in Gais, as reported by the same Wikipedia page of the small town of about 3000 inhabitants in the province of Bolzano: “Since 2011 Gais is the seat of the ITS – Institut fur Transnationale Studien / Institute for Transnational Studies, already of Landshut, currently directed by Klaus Lange and Karin Knapp ”.
In short, the Italian think tank center was inaugurated a year after Lange’s alleged recruitment by Chinese intelligence. In the following years, the suspected double spy often attended several minor public initiatives in Italy, especially in his main research field, Islamist terrorism, a theme to which he dedicated some publications in his years to the Hans Seidel foundation.
In the activities of the ITS, starting from 2010, a visit to the Trentino office of an Indian defense expert, Brig Vinod Anand , appears, Senior Fellow of the Vivekananda International Foundation in April 2011. Then, again in the province of Bolzano, in Brunico, a conference chaired by Lange on the “dynamics of South Asia”, from 2 to 4 December 2011. On 21 May 2012 , again in Gais, a conference on “Somali piracy” in the South China Sea.
Since 2013, the activity of the company directed by Lange in South Tyrol has become more frenetic: from May to June, between Gais and Bolzano, four conferences on the most disparate topics, from Iran to Myanmar. Then, from 2014 to 2018 (the last year marked on the site’s archives), Italy exits the map. ITS continues to organize seminars but on the other side of the world, from Kochi to New Delhi to Bangalore. In Gais, in South Tyrol, everything is silent.
The arrest in Munich and the accusations, if confirmed, raise many doubts which the Italian authorities will also have to answer. How is it possible that a Chinese spy has operated undisturbed on Italian soil for ten years, also participating in public events
What information may he have collected and reported in his many trips from South Tyrol to Munich, and from Munich to China

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