China’s Communist Party targets British spy agencies

A damning report highlights the depth and breadth of Beijing’s policy toward Washington’s closest ally

China’s Communist Party has launched a concerted “campaign” to “infiltrate” every aspect of British society. 

Last week, a damning report highlighted the extent of Beijing’s influence in the United Kingdom, triggering alarm bells not only in Westminster but across the pond in Washington.

The depth and breadth of the Party’s policy towards the United States’ closest ally is massive in scale. It encompasses British politics, the economy and even the UK’s domestic and foreign security services.

“China has sought to infiltrate [the] intelligence agencies with spies as part of a ‘prolific and aggressive’ espionage campaign,” The Times of London reported on Friday, outlining the findings of the British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee white paper.

Key issues:

  • The ISC has oversight of the domestic and foreign intelligence services of MI5 and MI6, as well as GCHQ
  • An intelligence, security and cyber agency, it plays a crucial role in the “Five Eyes” network.
  • Again, this alliance is made up of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

The UK was being subjected to a ‘whole state assault’ by China.

Delve deeper: Since the report was released, the British government “has already taken actions that are in line with many of the committee’s recommendations,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pointed out.

Big picture: Still, the ISC study makes grim reading, concluding that the UK was being subjected to a “whole state assault” by Beijing.

Between the lines: “China’s size, ambition and capability have enabled it to successfully penetrate every sector of the UK’s economy, and – until the Covid-19 pandemic – Chinese money was readily accepted by HMG [His Majesty’s Government] with few questions asked,” the 207-page report revealed.

Why it matters: It concluded that Beijing had targeted “politicians, sensitive infrastructure, the military, private companies and the academic sector,” The Times reported.  

China Factor comment: Just two weeks before the ISC white paper, Newsweek discovered in a major investigation that more than 400 groups linked to the Communist Party’s United Front were operating in the UK. Frightening.