| 2 October 2023, Monday |

UK arrests two men under Official Secrets Act for ‘spying’ for China

UK authorities apprehended two individuals, accusing them of espionage on behalf of China, and subsequently arresting them under the Official Secrets Act.
One of them is believed to be a House of Commons researcher, having a parliamentary pass and close links to several conservative leaders. The man, in his 20s, was arrested in Edinburgh by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.

Among others, the man is also believed to be very close to Security Minister Tom Tugendhat and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Alicia Kearns.
The UK’s local media quoted a source close to Alicia Kearns that if allegations are found to be true, it would be a serious escalation. It shows “the CCP will go to any length to attack thorns in their side,” the source said.

“It is inevitable the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would target and seek to undermine Parliament’s leading voices who have demonstrated the ability to constrain the CCP’s ambitions,” it added.

Second person also arrested
A person in his 30s was also arrested by officials at a property in Oxfordshire while searches were carried out at a property in east London.

A Met Police spokesman was quoted by Evening Standard as saying, “Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service arrested two men on 13 March on suspicion of offences under section 1 of the Official Secrets Act, 1911.”
“A man in his 30s was arrested at an address in Oxfordshire and a man in his 20s was arrested at an address in Edinburgh. Searches were also carried out at both the residential properties, as well as at a third address in east London,” the official said.

Last year, the UK’s intelligence agency MI5 issued a rare security advisory, alarming Members of Parliament that Christine Lee, a suspected Chinese operative, had been involved in “political interference activities” on behalf of China’s ruling Communist government.

Barry Gardiner, a Labour MP and former chair of the now-dissolved Chinese in Britain APPG, had received over £500,000 in donations from her prior to this alert.
The two men are detained just over a week following Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s visit to Beijing, which had garnered criticism from some senior members of the Conservative Party who are vocal critics of China.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader and a prominent advocate against China’s policies, warned of an escalating threat posed by China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.

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