Intelligence experts from the UK are warning that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is extending its influence into all areas of British society, putting themselves in a position to determine the course of the country by infiltrating British society. This is at a time when the UK has banned Chinese company Huawei from setting up its 5G network in the nation.
A dossier from a former MI6 spy recently revealed that CCP agents were manipulating important political figures in the UK to support Huawei’s business in the country. Almost every Chinese company, no matter where they operate, is said to have an “internal cell” that is solely answerable to the communist regime, ensuring that the interests of the Party are promoted. In addition to politicians, influential individuals from top businesses are also recruited as CCP agents.
One of the ways this is done is by providing a “positive incentive.” For instance, a British individual or company might get an invitation to an important business conference in China. A British firm facing financial difficulties might get funding assistance. A person might be selected as a board member of some organization. Through such means, the CCP brings over key people to their side, essentially making them the flag bearers of Chinese interests in the UK.
Even if some people stay away from CCP influence, the Party can still recruit them forcefully through blackmailing. With Western businessmen, “honeytrapping” is said to be an often-used tactic. Basically, the businessman will meet an attractive woman by “chance,” they will engage in an intimate relationship, and the act gets secretly recorded. The Chinese operatives will then threaten the businessmen, warning that the tapes will be released to their family members or peers if they refuse to cooperate.
Mareike Ohlberg, author of Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party Is Reshaping the World warns that attempts to groom prominent UK figures in politics and business were at an advanced stage. In fact, China’s “elite capture” initiative is far ahead in the UK than in European nations. Beijing is apparently offering jobs to former UK government workers. “China had locked on to the way the British establishment works… China is basically replicating that. It has found vanities, it has found greed, it has found a sense of coziness, people who like wearing funny robes and hats and free trips to China,” Matthew Henderson, a former British diplomat in Beijing, said to the Express.
British universities are apparently self-censoring academic content in order to comply with the communist regime’s censorship policies so as to offer online classes to international students from China. The courses are being offered through software by the non-profit organization JISC. In its initial stages, four universities are participating in the project — York University, King’s College London, Southampton University, and Queen Mary. The JISC software has been built by Alibaba.
A representative of the universities stated that none of the content being provided to the Chinese students has been censored. However, skeptics point out that this might be because the content is already self-censored by the universities to match Beijing’s censorship regulations. Neil O’Brien, a member of the China Research Group, warned that the project is an indication of how British universities are being changed due to their dependence on Chinese students. He wants the government to collect data on Chinese investments flowing into UK universities to ensure that the academic ecosystem does not get compromised.