- Calls to Label China a Threat Amid Espionage Suspicions
- Government’s Response to China’s “Systemic Challenge”
- Parliamentarians Express Concerns Over Lack of Information and Espionage Cell
A multitude of Conservative MPs, some of whom are sanctioned by China, criticize the government’s approach to the superpower, despite a minister’s admission that China is the “number one state-based threat” to the economic security of the United Kingdom.
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle warned parliamentarians against identifying the detained suspect during the debate earlier in the day.
Rishi Sunak addressed the Commons after meeting with China’s Premier Li Qiang at the G20 over the weekend.
Mr. Sunak stated, “The sanctity of this chamber must be safeguarded. And the right of members to speak freely without fear of reprisal must be upheld.”
“We’ll defend our democracy and security, so I told Premier Li that undermining British democracy is never acceptable.”
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, another ex-leader of the Conservative Party, stated, “It is appalling news that a potential espionage cell is operating in and around Westminster, and as a sanctioned individual, along with many of my colleagues, I am particularly disturbed by this news.”
He added, “The problem resides in the confusion over how we define China about ourselves. They either pose a menace or they do not. Why not designate them a threat and take action to deal with them and sanction some?”
Conservative MPs Tim Loughton, Theresa Villiers, and Sir Bob Seely encouraged the administration to act more.
The minister added that the British government was “clear-eyed” about the threats China poses to the United Kingdom and was taking steps to combat them, such as barring Huawei from UK infrastructure and TikTok from government phones.
The visit occurred in August, five months following the arrest.
I have made it clear to China that we would not tolerate interference in our democracy and legislative system.
Sir Iain previously posed a similar query to Mr. Dowden, who informed him that a running commentary was not possible.
In a statement released by his attorneys, the arrested individual said, “I feel compelled to respond to the media’s accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy.'” It is unjust that I am required to comment publicly on the inaccurate reporting that has occurred.
“However, given what has been reported, it is imperative that my innocence be made clear. I have attempted to educate others about the Chinese Communist Party’s threats throughout my career.
To commit the actions suggested in overblown news coverage would go against everything I stand for.