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British Intelligence Uncovers Chinese Influence Agent In UK Parliament

January 21st, 2022 15:58

UK media report­ed last week that Britain’s domes­tic secu­ri­ty ser­vice MI5 issued an extra­or­di­nary warn­ing to par­lia­ment, nam­ing Chris­tine Lee, a well-known lawyer in London’s Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ty, as an agent work­ing covert­ly for the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. Accord­ing to the MI5, Lee attempt­ed to influ­ence sev­er­al MPs from the Labour, Lib Dems, and Con­ser­v­a­tive par­ties through dona­tions or ‘dona­tions in kind.’ Accord­ing to a report in The Spectator:

Jan­u­ary 14, 2022 The biggest sur­prise in Thursday’s secu­ri­ty warn­ing about a Chi­nese agent seek­ing to influ­ence British politi­cians is that it came as a sur­prise at all. The Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty oper­ates a vast and grow­ing influ­ence oper­a­tion in Britain, which has pret­ty much been allowed free rein.  The warn­ing came from MI5 in the form of an ‘inter­fer­ence alert’ sent to House of Com­mons Speak­er, Sir Lind­sey Hoyle, which he then passed on to MPs. It warned that Chris­tine Lee, a lawyer, was ‘know­ing­ly engaged in polit­i­cal inter­fer­ence activ­i­ties on behalf of the Unit­ed Front Work Depart­ment of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist par­ty.’  Lee was accused of attempt­ing to influ­ence sev­er­al MPs from the Labour, Lib Dems and Con­ser­v­a­tive par­ties through dona­tions or ‘dona­tions in kind’. Among them was Labour MP Bar­ry Gar­diner, whose office received over £400,000 in dona­tions. Lee’s son was employed as a diary man­ag­er for Gar­diner, who gen­er­al­ly took a pro-Bei­jing line while he was in Jere­my Corbyn’s shad­ow cab­i­net.  In a state­ment on Thurs­day, the Brent North MP said the dona­tions were ful­ly declared, and he had been ‘liais­ing with our secu­ri­ty ser­vices for a num­ber of years about Chris­tine Lee’. He said he made MI5 ful­ly aware ‘of her engage­ment with my office and the dona­tions she made to fund researchers in my office in the past’.  Lee also made a £5,000 dona­tion to the local par­ty asso­ci­a­tion of Lib­er­al Demo­c­rat leader Sir Ed Dav­ey while he was ener­gy sec­re­tary in the coali­tion gov­ern­ment. A spokesman for the par­ty said Sir Ed was ‘shocked by these rev­e­la­tions’  Lee even received a ‘Points of Light’ award from There­sa May when she was prime min­is­ter. In a per­son­al mes­sage, May praised Lee for ‘pro­mot­ing engage­ment, under­stand­ing, and coop­er­a­tion between the Chi­nese and British com­mu­ni­ties in the UK.

Read the rest here.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has exten­sive­ly cov­ered Chi­nese influ­ence oper­a­tions in the UK, includ­ing attempts to influ­ence polit­i­cal elites in the coun­try. In August, we pub­lished an exclu­sive inves­ti­ga­tion uncov­er­ing China’s attempts to cre­ate pro-Chi­na lob­by groups in Europe, iden­ti­fy­ing China’s main vehi­cle for elite cap­ture in the UK:

August 29, 2021 China’s main vehi­cle for elite cap­ture in the UK is the 48 Group Club, a busi­ness net­work “pro­mot­ing pos­i­tive Sino-British rela­tions” found­ed in the 1950s that today gath­ers the who’s who of the British pow­er elite — includ­ing for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Tony Blair, mem­bers of the House of Lords and senior media and busi­ness exec­u­tives — and pairs them with senior Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty oper­a­tives, includ­ing sev­er­al for­mer Chi­nese ambas­sadors, a for­mer vice pres­i­dent, and a for­mer vice-min­is­ter. The group’s web­site pub­lish­es arti­cles from Chi­nese state-led media out­lets such as Xin­hua and Chi­na Dai­ly Glob­al, and its mem­bers open­ly advo­cate for Chi­nese pol­i­cy objectives.

Read the full inves­ti­ga­tion here.