The news comes following MI5 head Ken McCallum and FBI counterpart Christopher Wray making an unprecedented joint public statement about the risk posed by China. Mr McCallum said MI5 had more than doubled its work against Chinese activity in the last three years and would be doubling it again in the near future. Yet China has reacted angrily to the news, with one Chinese media outlet saying “British drama queens are on the move again”, saying the allegations were “nothing but sensationalism and unprofessionalism.”
One Chinese commentator, Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University said: “If MI5 were more professional, it wouldn’t make a fuss about groundless speculation.
“If more British politicians were more professional, they would be sober-minded about the fact that the biggest threat to the UK is its own development – and governance-related puzzles.
“Voices have been loud in Scotland and Northern Ireland to leave the UK for quite some time. If those issues are not fixed, social turmoil could emerge.
“Unfortunately, some British politicians have delivered little professionalism on domestic challenges, but displayed great enthusiasm and skilled tactics in clamouring about geopolitics, or more specifically, playing the China card, like how British tabloid newspapers attract eyeballs.”
Yet, the allegations made by the joint UK and US intelligence chiefs paints a rather different picture.
MI5 is now running seven times as many investigations related to activities of the Chinese Communist Party compared to 2018.
The FBI’s boss warned that if China was to forcibly take Taiwan it would “represent one of the most horrific business disruptions the world has ever seen”.
Recent talks between Chinese and American defence officials in Singapore raised concerns that China would be prepared to go to war over the identity and sovereignty of Taiwan.
Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe and American counterpart Lloyd Austin delivered open and frank verbal warnings to each other during the conference.
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British intelligence has also been very wary of the Chinese Communist Party’s influence around the world, and here in Britain.
Mr McCallum also said the challenge posed by the Chinese Communist Party was “game-changing”, whilst Mr Wray called it “immense” and “breathtaking”.
Mr Wray warned the audience – which included chief executives of businesses and senior figures from universities – that the Chinese government was “set on stealing your technology” using a range of tools.
He said it posed “an even more serious threat to western businesses than even many sophisticated businesspeople realised.”
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Yet for China, the argument is said to be baseless, with Chinese media suggesting Britain should worry about domestic policies rather than those of Beijing.
Blaming Britain’s close ties with the US for the new concerns, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator said: “The UK won’t go far by riding on the US’ chariot, because the latter will fall from hegemony eventually.
“If the UK wants to make a difference, it needs different politics and different politicians, who are serious about taking care of the country and its people’s interests, rather than picking fights out of nowhere to grab attention, just like boring, low-class British tabloids.”
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