Latest official water level in the US-China intelligence war. After the new espionage law was passed in July, Beijing’s Ministery of State Security is already presenting its first successes in uncovering dark CIA spies and this also serves as a „warning shot“ to the other side, especially since CIA chief Burns had previously given a key speech in which he announced an offensive espionage strategy for the CIA, from recruiting to the targeted release of information about the other side in order to show them that they have cracks in the system. In addition to the demonstration of military and economic strength, there is now a more or open display of secret service strength:
„China unveils second CIA espionage case within 15 days
High-profile disclosure of US spying activities serve as warning shot, showing China’s confidence in fighting foreign penetration, instigation
By GT staff reporters Published: Aug 21, 2023 08:50 PM Updated: Aug 22, 2023 12:22 AM
Chinese Ministry of State SecurityCIA Photo:AP
China unveiled the second US-led espionage case against China within half a month on Monday, indicating that the country’s national security authority cracked a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) espionage case involving a Chinese government employee who had been instigated by the Japan branch of the US intelligence agency.
Such high-profile revelation of US spying activities shows China has been facing a severe situation of „fighting in the hidden battlefront“ as the aggressive espionage activities by the US against China are closely related to Washington’s current strategy of comprehensive suppression and containment of Beijing, some experts said. But the continuous revelation of typical cases underscore China’s capabilities in fending off foreign penetration and instigation, firmly safeguarding the national security.
The frequent disclosures also serve as a warning shot to Chinese citizens, indicating that the activities by foreign forces aiming to steal intelligence from China, infiltrate, use as a springboard, and cause disruption are on the rise, experts warned.
The two cases revealed by the Chinese national security authority share some similarities, as the suspects had been instigated by the CIA in third-party countries when they studied overseas, a warning to the public that people need to remain vigilant against spying activities not only in China but also in foreign countries, especially among those who study and work abroad for a long time, experts noted.
China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) revealed a case on Monday concerning espionage activities conducted by the CIA against a Chinese government official, noting the case is still under investigation.
The suspect subject to investigation surnamed Hao, born in January 1984, is an official of a central government ministry. Hao established a connection with Ted, an officer from the US Embassy in Japan, while processing his US visa application during his time studying in Japan.
Ted gradually developed a close relationship with Hao by treating him to dinner and presenting gifts. In addition, Ted also asked for Hao’s assistance in writing papers, providing a „fee“ in return, Hao agreed to this request.
Before the end of his term in the US Embassy in Japan, Ted introduced his colleague Li Jun to Hao, and the two sides continued to maintain a cooperation.
Prior to the completion of Hao’s studies in Japan, Li Jun clarified his identity as a member of the CIA in Tokyo and engaged in the process of recruiting Hao as a spy, requesting Hao to work in a critical unit of the Chinese ministry upon his return to China. Hao agreed and signed an espionage agreement with the US side and accepted the assessment and training from the US.
After returning to China, Hao began working at a ministry as requested by the CIA and continued to meet secretly with CIA personnel, providing a large amount of sensitive government information to the US while collecting payment from the CIA, according to the MSS.
About 10 days ago, the MSS also revealed a case about cracking CIA espionage activities after the authority put a suspect surnamed Zeng, who was a staff member of a Chinese military industrial group and an important confidential employee, under enforcement measures after finding evidence that Zeng was conducting espionage activities.
Zeng, born in July 1971, was sent by his company to study in Italy. During that period, an official of the US embassy in Italy, called Seth, took the initiative to get acquainted with Zeng. Since then, Seth gradually developed a close relationship with Zeng.
As the exchanges between the two gradually deepened, Seth revealed to Zeng that he was a member of the CIA’s Rome station. Then Seth asked Zeng to provide sensitive information about the Chinese military to him, promising huge remuneration and to help Zeng’s family to migrate to the US.
Zeng agreed and signed an espionage agreement with the US side and accepted the assessment and training from the US.
The two cases show that the US intelligence authority has been working closely with relevant authorities in the Western bloc, under such close partnership, the CIA could easily learn more about information and background of some of Chinese citizens who study or work there, Li Wei, an expert on national security at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Monday.
„That information would also be helpful for the US intelligence authority to conduct penetration and instigation, especially targeting some Chinese citizens who are sent by companies or government ministries to study abroad,“ Li said.
„We need to be vigilant in our counter-espionage efforts. It’s not only the responsibility of people in the country but also of those overseas, especially students and visiting scholars. Those who study or work abroad for long periods must be particularly cautious,“ he noted.
US‘ Intensified efforts
Recently, CIA Director William Burns said that his agency had „made progress“ in rebuilding its spy networks in China after suffering significant setbacks one decade ago. Meanwhile, the US – a true empire of hackers – has been constantly launching cyberattacks against China’s critical infrastructure, for example, the latest one targeting the Wuhan Earthquake Monitoring Center.
Even a major intelligence power like the US typically wouldn’t boast about its espionage capabilities in another country, however, the current Biden administration is unique in this regard, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.
„Not only on espionage related to China, but we’ve also seen their approach toward Russia, especially concerning the Ukraine issue, they have even deliberately released some of the intelligence they’ve acquired through dubious means,“ he said, noting that by releasing this (mis)information, they aim to demonstrate their comprehensive strength against Russia.
„For the Biden administration to brag about their intelligence capabilities in China at this moment, I believe, in a sense, they’re essentially showcasing intelligence as part of their national strength to boast about their advantage over China,“ the expert noted.
Based on the current severe and complex counter-espionage situation, a series of provisions have been made to build a strong people’s defense line for national security against espionage, the MSS said in an earlier post, stressing that counter-espionage work requires the mobilization of all parts of society.
All state organs and armed forces, all political parties and all groups, enterprises, and other social organizations have an obligation to prevent and stop espionage activities and maintain national security, according to China’s revised Counter-Espionage Law that came into effect on July 1.
In recent years, the US has intensified its efforts to spy on China by recruiting Chinese agents through third-party countries, which shows their recruitment tactics within China haven’t been very successful, some experts said. With the intensified efforts of China’s counter-espionage efforts, the overall public awareness has been increased, making it more difficult for foreign spying activities to take place.
„By uncovering the US‘ tactics, we also gain insight into how the US intelligence system operates, and it’s not necessarily as invincible as Americans might believe,“ Lü said.
Now another article in the Global Times about what evil methods the CIA and other US services are using in China. Actually, the US inteligenc services do everything, including the use of hackers and social media, what the Chinese and other secret services also do, although there is still no official citizen hotline in the West for reporting espionage activities like 12339. No area code. Like 9 11 US emergency number or 118 here? The FBI and the US services do not yet have such informant hotlines or appeals to the population, even if the Chinese State Security speaks of anti-Chinese witch hunts in the USA and anti-Asian racism. Maybe we should call 123999 and give them some relevant desinformation. That you would have seen a Chinese man, a high party cadre or a PLA general in a hotel with an American or Taiwanese woman who would have registered and called himself Xi Jinping, Li Shuangfu or something . Actually, you could turn the tables and flood the Gong An Ju with fake denunciations and cause a chasing jam and paranoia. After calling on the population to report enemies of the state, the GeStaPo triggered a veritable wave of denunciations, whereby a lot of personal scores and other things were settled, as was once the case with denuncation of witches in the Middle Ages, which they then desperately tried to contain. Or to speak with the Kinks: Paranoia-Self Destroyer! Maybe then also under the allged umbrella of Anonymus, back hats, white hats, Chaos Computer Club and successor organizations including start-ups and ,aybe all with AI-generated voices and identities.
“China becomes main victim of advanced persistent threat attacks: Ministry of State Security
By Global Times Published: Sep 16, 2023 07:54 PM
According to the Ministry of State Security on Saturday which is the 23rd National Defense Education Day, China has become the main victim of advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks, adding that cyberspace has become an important battleground for foreign intelligence agencies to conduct cyber espionage against China, Xinhua Daily Telegraph reported.
The national security departments of China have revealed that foreign intelligence agencies employ various methods to carry out cyberattacks and infiltrations in China. For example, they may establish specialized organizations, set up „cover companies,“ and develop professional tools to directly attack China. They may also use methods such as „behind-the-scenes manipulation“ and „outsourcing services“ to instruct professional companies and hacker organizations to carry out attacks. Some countries even disguised their actions and collaborate with other countries in carrying out attacks.
In terms of attack targets, foreign intelligence agencies not only continuously target traditional targets such as Chinese government bodies, sensitive units but are also increasingly focused on attacking and infiltrating China’s critical information infrastructure and major infrastructure network systems. They have also extended their „black hand“ to Chinese universities, research institutions, large enterprises, high-tech companies, as well as executives, experts, and scholars, according to the Chinese authority.
Also, the attacks are omnipresent, involving various types of software systems such as email, office automation, user management, and security protection, as well as hardware devices such as servers, computers, switches, routers, and even civilian devices such as mobile phones, Wi-Fi, and surveillance cameras.
Unlike ordinary hackers, foreign intelligence agencies have abundant resources, strong technical capabilities, extensive experience in cyberattacks and more covert methods. Some of them collected and stole personal information data, using social engineering to precisely forge „phishing“ emails and websites to carry out deceptive attacks. Some directly attacked China by exploiting and purchasing key software systems and hardware devices. Some infiltrated and controlled Chinese supply chain companies or operation and maintenance service organizations‘ networks, using them as „springboards“ to attack downstream user units. Some conducted large-scale infiltrations and control of China’s civilian networks and household network devices, establishing „strongholds“ for cyberattacks against China and other countries.
The national security agencies pointed out that once China’s critical information infrastructure and major infrastructure network systems are invaded and controlled, they will face the risk of being disrupted and destroyed at any time. Cyberattacks by foreign intelligence agencies not only stole commercial secrets and intellectual property of Chinese enterprises and institutions but also monitored the network communication content of Chinese citizens, seriously infringing upon the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and organizations.
The national security authority stressed that once citizens and organizations discover online espionage activities, they should promptly report them to the national security authorities through channels such as the 12339 hotline, the online reporting platform, and the official WeChat account of the Ministry of State Security.
Even if it is emphasized that there is no desire for a witch hunt against foreign entities, especially since they are also supposed to invest in China, there seems to be a kind of internal general mobilization taking place. Starting point: The National Defense Day, No.23. Apparently introduced in 2000. By whom and for what occasion? In any case, the main focus now is to mobilize the Chinese population in matters of so-called national security and counterintelligence: anti-espionage posters are now also hung up in the subways. Teachers and students are also called on to hunt for spies. Is the classmate or teacher a CIA man? Of course, none of this is supposed to be a witch hunt as the Global Times points out:
„Renewed anti-espionage efforts to encourage public to safeguard national security, not a witch hunt against foreign entities in China: experts
Hu Yuwei Published: Sep 18, 2023 10:22 PM
Since the new Counter-Espionage Law was enacted in July, China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), whose work is usually classified and covert, is now stepping into the public limelight as the top national security authority announced a slew of detailed espionage cases over the last two months, as part of ratcheted up efforts to crack down on espionage.
Experts noted that the recent exposure of US espionage activities highlights China’s dire situation with a covert battle waged against the country, as the aggressive spying activities by the US against China are closely linked to Washington’s current strategy of comprehensive suppression and the containment of Beijing.
The consistent unveiling of espionage cases serves to emphasize China’s capabilities and determination in defending itself against foreign infiltration and manipulation, effectively safeguarding national security.
As the 23rd National Defense Education Day was marked on Saturday, comic strip posters warning of overseas spies were displayed in subway stations. The MSS provided information on how to prevent phones, emails, and other devices from being attacked on its newly opened official WeChat account. During the first class of the new semester, schools across the nation offered a special class dedicated to equipping teachers and students to identify and increase vigilance in safeguarding national security.
China’s recently intensified actions taken to combat espionage have raised concerns among certain Western media outlets, who misread it as a witch hunt that „spies are everywhere“ and a „call to all members in society to apprehend spies.“
Chinese security experts refute such misinterpretation, stating that China simply aims to gain more public support in counter-espionage efforts, as solely relying on national security agencies is insufficient to combat pervasive overseas espionage forces.
They stressed that the amended anti-espionage law further clarifies the boundaries of espionage activities to prevent abuse, noting that supervision systems along the anti-espionage process and communication channels through which breeches of the law can be reported are never absent.
Police officers raise cybersecurity awareness by disseminating education pamphlets among citizens in Yangzhou, East China’s Jiangsu Province, on September 14, 2023. Photo: Xinhua
Seek support from the public
CIA Director William Burns acknowledged on July 20 that his agency had made progress in rebuilding its spy networks in China, following significant setbacks a decade ago.
Ten days later, China’s MSS opened its official WeChat account on August 1, published a call to action, encouraging members of society to contribute to counter-espionage efforts, which analysts said marked its transition from covert to overt.
Just 21 days after Burn’s provocative claim, China’s MSS, on August 11, referred to the CIA’s revelation while announcing the apprehension of a suspect surnamed Zeng, who was a Chinese military industrial group staffer and an important confidential employee, as conducting espionage activities after being recruited by the CIA during his study in Italy.
China unveiled the second US-led espionage case against China within half a month on August 21, indicating that the country’s national security authority cracked an espionage case involving a Chinese government employee who had been enlisted by the Japan branch of the US intelligence agency while studying in Japan.
Afterward, the MSS, on September 11, released details about the case of John Shing-wan Leung, a permanent resident of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and a US passport holder, who conducted espionage activities including serving as an informant of a US intelligence agency and was spying for the US under the guise of charity.
In addition, the state media’s legal programs have gradually exposed typical early espionage cases in last two months, reminding the public to be more vigilant.
The MSS also publicly exposed and denounced the „four dangerous mindsets“ hidden in the newly released US‘ 2023 National Intelligence Strategy on its WeChat account on August 28.
„The disclosure of these specific details can allow the general public to be clearer in identifying typical espionage activities. Currently, the actions of foreign espionage forces, led by the US, have become increasingly rampant, reaching new heights. This trend will continue or even intensify for a long time in the future. Relying solely on professional counter-espionage police is no longer sufficient to cope with the current situation. Therefore, we need to seek the support of the public and encourage them to provide more clues,“ Li Wei, a researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a leading research institution on national security, told the Global Times.
Where are attacks coming from?
The US, famous for being an empire of hackers, has persistently launched cyberattacks against China.
In recent years, the CIA has established two specific centers to hone the agency’s focus on China, the „China Mission Center (CMC)“ and the „Transnational and Technology Mission Center.“ The CMC is the only mission center established by the CIA to specifically target a single country while the „Transnational and Technical Mission Center“ is responsible for assisting US spies in enhancing espionage technology, according to Li.
The CIA attaches great importance to the application of artificial intelligence technology in cyberspace, and the chief technology officer Nand Mulchandani appointed by the CIA later comes from Silicon Valley.
Li noted that the US originally had similar centers targeting Iran and North Korea, but as its tensions with China intensified, the US‘ redirected targeted activities against these two countries elsewhere, and a new department targeting China was established. This reflects a shift in the focus of US intelligence work.
One of the two centers primarily relies on human intelligence collection, while the other relies on technological means. This is also why the US is globally suppressing Huawei’s 5G technology, as once Huawei’s network becomes the mainstream internationally, it will pose a significant obstacle to US intelligence gathering, the expert noted.
Moreover, the US often cooperates with other anti-China foreign forces in intelligence, including separatist forces in Hong Kong, the island of Taiwan, and Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region as they are highly consistent with their political objectives to destabilize China. The general public should understand the complex international situation, actively learn relevant laws and regulations, enhance national security awareness, and remain vigilant at all times, warned Li.
What are popular means?
According to the MSS, cyberspace has become an important battlefield for foreign intelligence agencies to conduct cyber espionage. China has become a major victim of advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks (typically a state or state-sponsored group, which gains unauthorized access to a computer network and remains undetected for an extended period).
In recent years, China’s national security agencies have discovered dozens of foreign intelligence agencies from different countries and regions conducting cyberattacks within its borders. They either establish specialized organizations, set up „cover companies,“ and develop professional means to directly carry out cyberattack infiltration actions, or employ „outsourcing services“ or hacker groups to carry out attacks, or purchase data or lure and entice domestic institutions and personnel to sell their data, according to the MSS.
A frontline police officer engaged in cybersecurity and counter-espionage work in northern China told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that with the rapid development of modern technology, spy techniques have also evolved, making it increasingly difficult to counter. For example, it is now possible to determine the content of conversations in a room from kilometers away by sensing electromagnetic radiation, and conversations in a room can be stolen using pre-placed microwave, laser, and nano listening devices.
Cyberspace has become a breeding ground for espionage activities, and some software systems and hardware devices such as „zero-day,“ a vulnerability in a computer system, are increasingly being used. Furthermore, attacks are increasingly targeting research institutions, according to the police.
The case of the cyberattack on Northwestern Polytechnical University in 2022 is a typical example of cyber espionage. Foreign intelligence agencies used 41 types of specialized cyber weapons to launch thousands of attacks and steal confidential information from Northwestern Polytechnical University.
Li also underlines that foreign intelligence agencies are shifting their work toward more covert operations.
The MSS previously exposed a case in April, in which a group of suspicious foreign individuals approached a regular fish farmer in Dalian, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, under the guise of „installing free seawater quality monitoring devices.“ While claiming to help monitor water quality, these individuals intended to use this pretext to simultaneously monitor important sensitive data such as tides and ocean currents in non-open sea areas. This data would provide navigation assistance for foreign submarines to secretly enter the waters near our country’s territorial waters.
No arbitrary application
Many foreign media outlets have exaggerated and sensationalized China’s recent legitimate actions against espionage, portraying them as generalized attacks on foreign forces. Some have warned that the anti-espionage campaign could create further legal risks for and doubts among foreign companies, journalists, and academics.
„It has absolutely been distortion and misread as the media has confused counter-espionage work and normal cross-border economic and trade activities. On the contrary, China is committed to creating a healthy business environment that is not disrupted or threatened by espionage activities,“ Li argued.
China is not the only country that has started issuing more severe warnings regarding foreign spies. Concerns have been raised about Washington fueling a new Red Scare, exemplified by the Justice Department’s abandoned China Initiative that focused on academics and some countries‘ ban on Huawei’s 5G network and the social media platform TikTok due to so-called security concerns.
Every country has laws and actions against espionage, so why are they specifically expressing „concern“ over China? Chinese netizens questions.
As early as August 4, the MSS had directly responded to concerns and smears from foreign media sources, emphasizing that safeguarding national security is a common practice for countries worldwide. The authority reiterated that the provisions of the amended Counter-Espionage Law are open, transparent, and clear.
„The task of counter-espionage efforts in China is destined to become increasingly important, and this trend cannot be changed. However, we cannot and will not close our doors for the sake of security. Our commitment to openness to the outside world will only become stronger,“ Hu Xijin, a Chinese media professional wrote on the Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo.
When the CIA established the two aforementioned centers in 2021, China put forward the „Global Development Initiative“ to the world and followed it up with the „Global Security Initiative“ the following year. This means that coordinating development and security is a fundamental principle for China, according to analysts.
Li stressed that the revised law refines the boundary of espionage to further prevent misuse. The new version also properly expands the scope of targets of espionage, with all documents, data, materials, and articles concerning national security and interests included for protection. It particularly warns agents against domestic overseas espionage, calling for more caution in selling data to suspicious agents.
The expert underlined that monitoring measures are available to prevent the abuse of the espionage law, refuting claims by some foreign media outlets that the espionage law is a breach of public privacy.
„For example, requests of counterintelligence officers on collecting data must be strictly applied and approved in the system while the process must be supervised by higher levels. Citizens have the right to report potential abuses and misconduct, and relevant channels are open. They can report them to the People’s Court and the Procuratorate if they find that law enforcement personnel have stepped over the line and have infringed on the interests of citizens under the guise of counter-espionage laws,“ Li explained.
On August 7, the MSS again emphasized the supervision mechanism for counter-espionage work and announced the reporting channels on its WeChat account.
„This is not an era for everyone catching spies everywhere, but an important time for everyone to protect national security, via more scientific and legal means,“ said Li.
After Beijing itself boasted about its pro-Chinese Clivden Set of British politicians and managers in the 46 Club Group as a pro- Chinese lobby against anti-China forces in the UK, which has now come under hostility in Global Britain, Chinese innocent lambs are now being discovered, who are just the victims of anti- Asian racism and a propaganda mood, but despite all the hostilities, didn’t really hinder Sino-British economic relations which are being attacked by all the sharp rhetoric and propaganda of the “anti China forces” :
„UK’s ‘Chinese spy’ farce exposes undercurrents of anti-China force, chaotic views on Beijing
Chen Qingqing Published: Sep 12, 2023 09:46 PM Updated: Sep 12, 2023 10:30 PM
China UK Photo: VCG
The „Chinese spy“ farce continues in the UK. Some MPs were „furious“ and voiced concerns in a latest parliament debate over the allegations against a British parliamentary researcher who was reportedly arrested on the suspicion of spying for China, putting much more pressure on the Sunak administration that has been trying to seek a delicate balance regarding UK’s China relations.
Some Chinese experts said on Tuesday that continuing hyping up those spy allegations reflected the existing undercurrents of anti-China force in the British politics, which aim to weaponize the allegations to sabotage the already-vulnerable bilateral relations. However, some cabinet officials resisting calls to label China as a threat to the UK showed that the British government holds ambivalent attitude toward China as developing a constructive economic and trade cooperation with the world’s second-largest economy is a necessary means to solve its domestic economies woes, experts said.
Britain has been hoping to improve the UK-China relations, some media reported, and the country’s foreign secretary James Cleverly made „the first tentative steps“ to repair the ties as he visited Beijing in late August. But Chinese experts believe that the overall China-UK relations are not yet in a state of easement, and the latest political farce on „Chinese spy“ only indicated Britain’s internal chaotic views on China, which however, won’t have a significant impact on the future development of the bilateral ties.
A tool of Tory strategy
London’s Metropolitan Police revealed on Sunday two men had been arrested in March under the Official Secrets Act, Reuters said. The Sunday Times reported one of them was a parliamentary researcher, and on Monday it published a picture of a man it said was him.
However, lawyers for the man released a statement on his behalf without identifying him, denying the accusations. The statement said the man is „completely innocent,“ and emphasized that he spent his career to date „trying to educate others about the challenge and threats“ presented by the Communist Party of China.
„By making the ‚clarification,‘ the accused is trying to fasten himself to the anti-China agenda, in order to try and exonerate himself. This only shows the poisonous atmosphere of McCarthyism that has arisen in the UK in order to silence those advocating a balanced view on Beijing,“ a British expert who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Such „clarification“ has not put an end to this spy farce. Some British media such as BBC and the Financial Times continue using it as a trigger of reflection on the UK-China relations by raising questions such as „has the UK woken to the China spy challenge?“ and „what spy saga reveals about the UK-China relations?“
In response to the „spying“ claims, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he is limited in what he can say specifically, „but I’ve been emphatically clear in our engagement with China that we will not accept any interference in our democracy and parliamentary system.“
„One that can best unite the Conservative is targeting China,“ Li Guanjie, a research fellow from the Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
„Sunak has been hesitant to list China as a threat. I believe this approach aims to unite both the hawkish and dovish members within the party, but such tactic has not been effective,“ Li said.
While the hawkish voices within the Conservatives are dominant, there are still „many doves,“ the expert said. „Hence, there’s a need for some to continue hyping on ‚Chinese espionage‘ or other ‚infiltration‘ allegation to make such topic a tool of Tory strategy,“ Li added.
Commenting on UK official criticizing China for disregarding human rights in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and coercion and intimidation in the South China Sea, and alleging that China poses a „systemic challenge“ to the UK and its values in a statement to the House of Commons on the so-called Chinese spies, the Chinese Embassy in the UK said on Tuesday that „These remarks by the UK side were a total misrepresentation of the facts and constituted blatant interference in China’s internal affairs.“
„We firmly oppose and strongly condemn it,“ the embassy said, urging the UK to stop seeking pretexts to advance its plots, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and stop engaging in anti-China political manipulation.
On the „Chinese spy“ allegations, there is very much media frenzy going on already, the anonymous British expert noted. „Sunak has proven himself to be a weak leader, whose position is already politically fragile amidst unpopularity, which makes him easily susceptible to weaponizing inflammatory and aggressive rhetoric on various issues to gain support.“
Bilateral ties in focus
Following the spy allegations, some media pointed out that the accusations have been made at a time when the bilateral relations between the two countries have been already strained.“ Meanwhile, Conservatives are also divided on how to view and interact with China, which, some experts said, clearly showed the Sunak government is trying to balance its China policy.
Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch told the Sky News that China is not a foe, media reported on Monday, despite that Conservatives MPs urged the UK government to adopt a tougher stance against China.
„I do not believe this ’spy‘ hype-up will affect much the China-UK relations,“ Gao Jian, director of the Center for British Studies at Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The overall momentum of bilateral relations is not based on individual will. The normalization of bilateral relations between China and the UK serves the common interests of both side, Gao said.
„In particular, the development of constructive economic and trade cooperation with China is a necessary means for the UK to solve its internal social issues and effectively safeguard its international interests,“ he said.
Over the past few years, the China-UK relations had moved from the „Golden Era“ to competition and confrontation, and the UK has been enhancing its alignment with the US in Washington’s strategy of containing China and the trying to demonstrate its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
„Although the recent Cleverly’s visit to China helped restarting bilateral communication and exchange mechanisms, the overall bilateral ties have not been in a state of easement,“ Li said, noting that how the bilateral relations would be adjusted in the future will wait until after next year’s elections.
Despite that the overall political atmosphere in Britain has become tougher toward China, the economic relations between the two countries have been strengthened, Li said. „We should remain vigilant against those anti-China voices especially in trade and business sectors.“
In November an AI Regulation Summit in the UK. Global Brexit-Britain reportedly wants to portray itself as a global leader in AI regulation. It would also be interesting to know whether the British actually have any leading AI companies and what they themselves want to contribute. Elon Musk and Gates recently called for AI regulation. Especially since all want to define international standards. It is questionable whether this is even possible or whether it is technically and politically feasible. At least the whole thing is now being overshadowed by a British campaign against Chinese espionage, which is why China is considering not taking part if, at best, it should have access for the first day and then be excluded. Especially since the plan for global standards would be thwarted if China, the world’s leading AI power nation along with the USA, did not take part. Unfortunately, there is no information about the participation of representatives of the Global South and what they think about it and now also of the EU. Russia will probably also be excluded, as will North Korea, Iran, etc.
“UK continued hyping of ‚China spies‘ farce exposed Sunak admin’s weakness
By GT staff reporters Published: Sep 17, 2023 08:10 PM
China UK Photo: VCG
The UK is reportedly mulling over banning Chinese officials from participating in half of the upcoming AI summit, as London’s self-staged „China spies“ farce continues to simmer. Chinese experts condemned the British government’s attempt to play up the drama as not only shooting itself in the foot, but exposing that the British government is bowing to the parliament’s China hawks.
Such traits of the incumbent UK government make it difficult for China to take it seriously, a trend that will further sabotage Beijing’s ties with London, experts warned.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is considering banning Chinese officials from half of his artificial intelligence safety summit in November, the Guardian quoted sources as saying on Saturday.
It said that Downing Street has already invited China to attend the summit, which will be held in early November at Bletchley Park. Yet the invitation has attracted some criticism after a „China spies“ farce staged by the UK. Sources told the Guardian that Chinese officials might only be allowed to attend the first day of the two-day summit.
UK media reported that Sunak is expected to use this summit to attempt to position the UK at the forefront of global AI regulation.
If the UK announces such a „discriminative restriction“ on China’s attendance at the AI summit, China could react by refusing to participate, Cui Hongjian, a professor at Academy of Regional and Global Governance under the Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Sunday.
He noted that the summit will lose its allure if China, one of the global AI bellwethers, does not show up, and he said the UK would be shooting itself in the foot by doing what the media had reported.
Some Chinese companies or participants may also choose to shun the summit, as they would fear for their safety as UK keeps hyping the issues of „China spies,“ Li Guanjie, a research fellow from the Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies, told the Global Times on Sunday.
In an exclusive poll for The Mail on Sunday, more respondents said China should be invited to the UK government’s AI summit Park than those who opposed the idea.
Despite China’s criticism and warning, the UK has not backed down on hyping the farce.
In response to the UK parliament’s discussion of „China spies,“ a spokesperson from the Chinese Embassy in the UK said on Friday that „the allegations of the so-called Chinese spies hyped up by the UK side are a self-staged farce that is totally groundless. We have made a serious démarche to the UK side and we strongly condemn it.“
The spokesperson continued to say it shows that some British politicians have reached a point of hysteria and how egregious they have become when it comes to China. Their baseless slanders and accusations against China seem more of a cover-up of their own incompetence and failure in solving the UK’s own political, economic and social problems and are aimed at deflecting the attention of the public.
Cui said that the „China spies“ hype in the UK exposes the weakness of Sunak and his administration, which have bowed to China hawks‘ pressure in UK parliament, as well as their declining governance ability, which renders it difficult for China to take any political signs from the UK seriously.
Before the spy allegations, James Cleverly, secretary of state for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs of the UK, visited China in August, where he said that „we are clear-eyed about the areas where we have fundamental disagreements with China and we raise those issues when we meet … But I think it’s important to also recognize that we have to have a pragmatic, sensible working relationship with China because of the issues that affect us all around the globe.“
Cui asked: How can China and the UK establish pragmatic, sensible relation if the US is making groundless allegations and uses those allegations to bar China from participating in events that UK hosts?
If Sunak thinks about the benefits of the UK as a whole, instead of focusing on the interests of his party, he should stand up bravely against the China hawks and let them understand the benefits of pragmatic cooperation with China, Cui said.
Li noted that the UK’s continued playing up of the spying allegations will damage relations with China, and the ball is in the UK court now to cut the losses in time.
Well, maybe it will be more of an Anglo-Saxon Five Eyes event and the Day of the Saxons in nature.