MI5, FBI chiefs warn of ‘game-changing’ threats from China

Jul 7, 2022: According to a report by AFP, the heads of MI5 and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have warned about threats from China’s espionage in the West, in a rare joint address at the British intelligence service’s London headquarters.

Ken McCallum, the director of the UK’s MI5, said that the Chinese government’s “covert pressure across the globe” amounts to “the most game-changing challenge we face”, while Chris Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), warned Western firms that Beijing was determined to steal their technology for competitive gain.

Addressing an audience of officials and business executives in Thames House, MI5 Director General Ken McCallum and FBI Director Chris Wray said the threat from Chinese spies is paramount in both countries and only continues to grow.

McCallum said MI5, the British domestic intelligence service, had sharply expanded its China-focused operations.

He said Chinese intelligence takes a slow and patient approach to developing sources and gaining access to information, and few of those targeted recognized themselves as such.

“Hostile activity is happening on UK soil right now,” he said.

“By volume, most of what is at risk from Chinese Communist Party aggression is not, so to speak, my stuff. It’s yours — the world-leading expertise, technology, research and commercial advantage developed and held by people in this room, and others like you,” he said.

Wray said China’s threat was a “complex, enduring and pervasive danger” to both the United States and Britain, as well as other allies.

China is “set on stealing your technology, whatever it is that makes your industry tick, and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market,” Wray said.

They urged businesses to stay alert and report possible threats.

China rejected the accusations as “groundless”, labelling them an attempt to “smear” its political system.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, the Chinese embassy in London rejected McCallum and Wray’s accusations, describing them as “completely groundless”.

“The so-called cases they listed are pure shadow chasing,” a spokesperson said in a statement posted on the mission’s website. “They spread all kinds of lies about China in order to smear China’s political system, stoke anti-China and exclusion sentiment, and divert public attention in order to cover up their own infamous deeds.”

The Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, also told the Associated Press news agency in a statement that the Taiwan issue was “purely China’s internal affair”.

“We will strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and efforts,” the statement said, though it noted that China will “reserve the option of taking all necessary measures in response to the interference of foreign forces”.

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