July 21, 2024
UK Suspect Denies Being ‘Chinese Spy’ As Beijing Slams Claims
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UK Suspect Denies Being ‘Chinese Spy’ As Beijing Slams Claims

After police arrested a parliamentary researcher on suspicion of spying for Beijing, the UK government is now facing calls to get tougher with China. The arrest, made earlier this year but only made public this weekend, prompted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to warn Premier Li Qiang in person about Chinese “interference” in democracy.

But it also provoked a strong denial in Beijing, risking further damage to ties already strained by criticism of China’s human rights record against the Uyghur minority and the erosion of civil rights in Hong Kong.

House of Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle is due to address lawmakers in parliament, while deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden is billed to give a “security update” afterwards.

The spying claims are likely to put pressure on Sunak’s government to toughen its policy on China, as it seeks greater engagement with the Asian superpower.

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Former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith, who has been sanctioned by Beijing, branded the government’s failure to label China a strategic threat as “weak”. The suspect, said to be in his 20s, was arrested at his home in Edinburgh in March, along with another man in his 30s. Both were detained on suspicion of offences under the Official Secrets Act and have been bailed until October.

If proven, it would represent one of the most serious breaches of security involving another state at the UK’s parliament.

Sunak said he confronted Li on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi on Sunday, calling “any interference in our parliamentary democracy…obviously unacceptable”.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning, however, told a news conference in Beijing: “The so-called claim that China is conducting espionage activities against the UK is pure fabrication.

The younger man who was detained has not been named by UK authorities. He has denied any involvement in espionage in a statement released by his lawyers.

    • 10 months ago

    […] READ ALSO: UK Suspect Denies Being ‘Chinese Spy’ As Beijing Slams Claims […]

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