- MI5 and FBI have warned about the growing threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to UK and US interests
- Two leaders highlighted the ambitious thought process of China to catch up and bridge the technological edge that West possess
- Cutting-edge tech, AI, product development is of material interest to the CCP
- CCP is using various tactics to acquire it through espionage
At a rare joint address , MI5 Director General Ken McCallum and FBI Director Chris Wray have warned the nations about the growing threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to UK and US interests. The two leaders spoke to an audience of business and academic leaders at Thames House.
Drawing reference to President Xi’s earlier speech, two leaders highlighted the ambitious thought process of China to catch up and bridge the technological edge that West possess. President Xi’s has earlier said that in areas of core technology where it would be impossible for China to catch up with the West by 2050, China “must research asymmetrical steps to catch up and overtake”.
“This means standing on your shoulders to get ahead of you”
According to MI5 & FBI head, It means that if US & UK are involved in cutting-edge tech, AI, or product development, underlying know-how is of material interest to the CCP. Entities seeking presence in the Chinese market, will be subject to more attention than they might think. According to MI5 assessment, CCP working to extract UK advantage in multiple ways. Some of the examples are:
- SHU Yenjoon, a Chinese intelligence agent, was found guilty in a US court last year of economic espionage and stealing trade secrets from the US aviation industry.
- A case of technology transfer involving the precision engineering company Smith’s Harlow in the UK. Smith’s Harlow and Futures Aerospace, a Chinese company, signed a contract in 2017. Futures paid £3 million for quality control methods and training sessions as part of the first of three agreed-upon technology transfers, but once valuable intellectual property was shared, Futures cancelled the agreement.
- For almost ten years, in Germany, a retired political scientist and his wife, who together founded a think tank for foreign affairs, provided information to the Chinese intelligence agencies
- In Estonia, a NATO maritime scientist was found guilty of passing informing to his Chinese handlers, who purported was employed by a think tank.
- In one instance, a lucrative job opportunity was presented to a British aviation expert. He made two trips to China, where he was entertained with fine dining. Then, he was compelled to provide thorough technical data about military aircraft in exchange for payment. His employer was actually operated by Chinese intelligence agents.
- Various Government and Commercial enterprises have been under cyber-attack by Threat groups related to Chinese Ministry of State Security
Making friends is the primary reason for the Chinese intelligence service’s nurturing of Westerners. Once a friendship is established, China will take use of it to further its interests and gain access to material and tech that is not legally or commercially available to China. Chinese Intelligence is very patient about developing and cultivating contacts. The aim of these tactics is to create a debt of obligation on the target for favours in return.
UK Government is taking various measures to tackle the Chinese challenges including enactment of The National Security & Investment Act, which is based on decades of US experience. It has strengthened the UK government’s ability to examine investments and acquisitions in order to preserve national interest.