Britain’s Security Service has recorded 10,000 instances of foreign spies from hostile foreign powers including Communist China and Russia making “disguised approaches” to British citizens to steal technology, among other aims.
Director-General of MI5 Ken McCallum, in a speech given Thames House headquarters on Wednesday, highlighted the growing threat facing the UK from state-sponsored espionage to “short circuit years of patient British research or investment”.
“We have seen over 10,000 disguised approaches from foreign spies to regular people in the UK, seeking to manipulate them,” the MI5 chief said in pre-released comments seen by The Telegraph.
McCallum said that British universities have seen their advancements “stolen or copied” and businesses have been “hollowed out” through similar tactics.
“Given half a chance, hostile actors will short-circuit years of patient British research or investment,” he said, adding: “This is happening at scale and it affects us all. UK jobs, UK public services, UK futures.”
“To speak directly: if you are working in a high-tech business; or engaged in cutting-edge scientific research; or exporting into certain markets, you will be of interest – more interest than you might think – to foreign spies.”
“You don’t have to be scared, but be switched on.”
While McCallum was reticent to single out Communist China in his pre-released remarks — possibly for diplomatic reasons — there has been growing concern about the scale of Chinese infiltration of top-level academic research in the UK.
Red Guards in Britain: China Ambassador Calls on Chinese Students in UK to ‘Serve the Motherland’ https://t.co/sQO9oyim1Z
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 5, 2020
In February, the UK’s top foreign intelligence agency, MI6, reportedly began investigating “some of the most prestigious universities in the country” for allegedly breaching national security laws through working on joint projects with CCP-tied weapons developers.
The probe later revealed that at least 200 British academics are under investigation for helping Beijing develop weapons of “mass destruction”. The academics face a maximum of ten years in prison if they are proven to have violated the Export Control Order 2008.
Academics from at least 33 universities, including Cambridge, Edinburgh and Manchester, were reported in March to have worked in conjunction with the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP), the chief nuclear weapons developer for the CCP.
In May, it was reported that a joint investigation carried out by the Foreign Office, Special Branch, and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs “established a correlation” between universities in Britain reliant on tuition from Chinese students and the alleged technology transfers to the communist country.
One such university, the coronavirus modelling Imperial College London — which reportedly earns 26 per cent of its income from Chinese students — has been accused of having at least “four research centres sponsored by major Chinese weapons suppliers”, including the development of next-gen stealth technology for China’s air force.
China has also been accused of hacking the data of 13.1 million Britons including telephone numbers, credit card details, and passwords through a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) sponsored attack on the credit reporting agency Equifax in 2017.
The communist regime denied involvement in the hack, claiming to have been a “victim” of the attack themselves.
A state-backed firm in Communist China has conducted a hostile takeover of the UK's largest microchip factory amid a global chip shortage. https://t.co/4pLvWA8JsD
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 9, 2021
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