World, Asia - Pacific

China attempting elite capture in UK: Report

Former spy Christopher Steele was involved in report, previously wrote dossier on Russia, US President Trump

Karim El-Bar   | 07.07.2020
China attempting elite capture in UK: Report

LONDON

A dossier written by former British spies accused China of trying to influence elites in the British society, Sky News reported on Tuesday.

The 86-page report was privately commissioned by Scottish-American film producer Andrew Duncan. The report was not made public but shown to a handful of British MPs and media outlets.

Former MI6 officer Christopher Steele contributed to the report. Steele gained international infamy three years ago when he compiled another dossier about links between US President Donald Trump and Russia. Other contributors were Arthur Snell, a former British diplomat, and another former senior diplomat with expertise on China.

“Britain's elite have shown naivety regarding China's true intentions, believing in a simplistic trade-focused policy,” the report said.

“Elite capture has a range of characteristics from 'useful idiots' to full-time agents of the CCP,” the report said. “All variants are present in the UK context.”

The report also alleged that involving Huawei in the UK’s 5G network could pose spying risks, and the news comes as local media report British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will seek to ban any involvement by the Chinese company in the coming infrastructure upgrade.

Such a move would be welcomed by the US, which has put intense pressure on the UK to ban Huawei’s involvement, and with whom the UK is negotiating a trade deal, but would also threaten UK-China relations and make the UK’s 5G program take longer to implement for a higher price.

The report was titled “China’s Elite Capture” and listed China’s main objectives in the UK as: establishing a Chinese presence in national infrastructure such as nuclear plants and telecoms, using the UK’s 5G network as an entry point to European markets and undermining the Five Eyes intelligence alliance with the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and influencing the UK to support Chinese policies around the world and weakening the transatlantic alliance.

Responding to Sky News at a press conference on Monday, China’s Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming said: “I would totally reject any accusation of interference in the UK's internal affairs.”

“I have been ambassador here for more than 10 years. I never come across any incident that would be excused by UK government, by any institutions with hard evidence of China's interference in UK's internal affairs. If you have evidence please show me but do not make disinformation, false accusations against China,” he said.

“China has fully committed to norms governing international relations. That has been our consistent policy,” he said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Huawei said: “We categorically refute these unfounded allegations, which do not bear scrutiny and are regrettably the latest in the long-running US campaign against Huawei.

“They are designed to deliver maximum reputational damage to our business and have no basis in fact.”

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