According to a study provided by the British government, Chinese agents are conducting an increasingly complex espionage effort to gain access to national secrets by focusing on high-ranking British leaders in politics, industry, and the military.
Britain’s attitude to the Chinese threat was deemed insufficient, according to a report released in July by the British Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament. The ministry claimed that British and contracted nationals in critical roles and with classified information and expertise had been the target of Chinese recruiting efforts.
According to the U.K. government study, in terms of espionage, China’s human intelligence gathering is prolific since the country uses a massive network of persons rooted in local society to reach individuals of interest who are frequently discovered through social media. Decision-makers, including current and past politicians, top government officials, and members of the armed forces, are an obvious focus.
The report comes following the recent arrest of a parliamentary staff researcher on suspicion of espionage for the communist state.
In April, the Metropolitan Police revealed that the researcher was one of two individuals detained in March for violating the Official Secrets Act. The researcher, who is denying the allegations, reportedly had access to numerous conservative MPs.
A report shows that the danger to the British parliament has been discussed at length by the security services, and last year, MI5 Director General Ken McCallum cautione that the Chinese government was playing the long game in establishing relationships.
The report reveals that McCallum also claimed that the Chinese government was keeping tabs on the Chinese expatriate community and pressuring members via threats of violence and forceable return home.
According to McCallum, several hundred Russian officials were removed from many regions, notably over 600 from Europe, of whom more than 400 were deemed to be spies.