(PatriotWise.com) — While attending the G-20 summit in India on Sunday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called out China’s Premier Li Qiang for Beijing’s “unacceptable” interference with Britain’s “parliamentary democracy” after a report that a researcher in Parliament was arrested for allegedly spying for China, the Associated Press reported.
The UK Sunday Times reported last weekend that two men had been arrested in March for violating the Official Secrets Act. Both were released on bail pending additional inquiries.
According to the Sunday Times, one of the men was a researcher who worked with senior Conservative lawmakers, including Alicia Kearns, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The suspect had a full access pass to all Parliament buildings.
Prime Minister Sunak told UK broadcasters on Sunday that he expressed his “very strong concerns” about possible Chinese interference in the UK’s democracy when he spoke with Premier Li Qiang, describing such interference as “obviously unacceptable.”
The UK’s spy services have warned in recent months about Beijing’s covert activities in Britain.
In November, MI5 Director Ken McCallum described Beijing’s espionage activities as the UK’s “most game-changing strategic challenge.” Meanwhile, last July, MI6 foreign intelligence chief Richard Moore called China his agency’s “most important strategic focus.”
In January 2022, MI5 issued a public alert warning that a London-based attorney was attempting to “covertly interfere in U.K. politics” on behalf of Beijing. The attorney, Christine Lee, was allegedly acting in conjunction with the CCP’s United Front Work Department, known for foreign influence operations.
Between 2015 and 2020, Labour Party MP Barry Gardiner received over £500,000 from Christine Lee, mostly for office costs. Additionally, Lee’s son worked in Gardiner’s office. Both Lee and the Chinese deny any wrongdoing.
Sunak met with Li Qiang just days after UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited Beijing, marking the highest-level trip to China by a UK official in several years.
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