UK steps up hostile actions against China as three alleged ‘spies’ are expelled

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Sino-British relations are fast deteriorating largely due to the hostile rhetoric and actions of the British government

In the latest hostile move against China the British government has reportedly expelled three suspected Chinese “spies” from the UK.

News of the expulsion was first reported by the Daily Telegraph (February 04), which cited “concerns” within Whitehall about Chinese “economic espionage and intellectual property theft from UK institutions”.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the journalists had arrived in the UK on journalism visas but were accused by the British Security Service (MI5) of working for China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS).

MI5 is believed to have advised the Home Office to revoke the journalists’ visas and they were subsequently expelled “in the past few months”.

In keeping with its protocols on national security matters, the Home Office has declined to comment on the matter.

It is not yet known which Chinese media organizations had hired and dispatched the three expelled journalists.

The revelation about the expelled journalists comes in the wake of the broadcast regulator Ofcom’s decision on Thursday (February 04) to revoke the license of the Chinese state broadcaster China Global Television Network (CGTN) to operate in the UK.

Ofcom justified its decision on the grounds that the company that held the CGTN’s license, Star China Media Ltd, did not exercise day-to-day editorial control over the Chinese state broadcaster’s output.

— Ofcom (@Ofcom) February 4, 2021 ">http://

We have revoked China Global Television Network’s (CGTN) licence to broadcast in the UK, after our investigation concluded that the licence was wrongfully held by Star China Media Ltd. (SCML).

Read here for more information: https://t.co/R97X1hYnkA pic.twitter.com/7lDKvEipZW

— Ofcom (@Ofcom) February 4, 2021

China’s foreign ministry reacted robustly to Ofcom’s apparently arbitrary decision, with a spokesperson stating the country “reserves the right to make the necessary responses”.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson added that Ofcom’s decision had been based on “ideological prejudice and political reasons”.

The latest hostile moves against China are in keeping with the British government’s increasingly strident attitude against the Asian giant, following the latter’s decision to exercise full sovereignty over Hong Kong, formerly a British colony.

It also follows the UK’s decision last summer to terminate the Chinese technology giant Huawei’s role in the development of the UK’s 5G network by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, the Guardian (February 05) is reporting that the ruling Tories are potentially planning further action against Chinese interests in the UK in the near future.

The paper quotes the Tory MP, Bob Seely, as stating: “We do need a more consistent view of China – and Russia – and understand more clearly how authoritarian and one-party states operate in the digital age”.  

 

 

 


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