Death penalty for leaking top secret code
Chinese authorities sentence computer scientist to death after being convicted of selling top secret state documents and lines of code. Flickr/Dennis Skley

China given the death sentence to a computer scientist who was found guilty of stealing top secret government documents, lines of code and classified files before selling them to foreign intelligence agencies, according to the country's state media.

Huayng Yu, 41, who worked for a research institute that created encryption for China's military and government reportedly kept copies of the state secrets he was handling. South China Morning Post reported China's CCTV claim that Yu had leaked 150,000 classified documents including the decryption codes to decipher military, financial and Communist Party communication.

Allegedly, Yu was first approached by foreign parties in 2002 for sale of the information, and despite losing his job in 2004 he continued to sell secrets by coercing them out of former colleagues over the course of several years, eventually earning $700,000 (£485,000) for 21 deals. It was not revealed whether Chinese authorities knew which foreign intelligence agencies conducted business with Yu.

Chinese authorities captured Yu in 2011 and regarded the actions of espionage so severe that a death penalty was imposed. "This case would have led to bloodshed and cost lives if it happened in wartime," said the state media report. The report did not state whether Yu had been executed as of yet or the manner in which it would be conducted. Yu's wife and brother-in-law, who also worked at the institute, were implicated for trading state secrets and sentenced for five and three years respectively.