Politics & News

China’s Espionage in Europe is on Rise

German authorities have arrested an aide to a leading member of the European Parliament for the far-right populist Alternative für Deutschland party (AfD) on suspicion of spying for China, reported Reuters.

In a statement on Tuesday, prosecutors identified the man as Jian G. and accused him of “especially severe” espionage for China and of passing information about discussions in the European Union legislature to Chinese intelligence.

The Spy Identified

According to German prosecutors, the man had a dual German and Chinese citizenship, and it was believed he had been spying for the Chinese secret services for years. Investigators accused the man of spying on Chinese opposition figures living in Germany.

Prosecutors added that he had also offered his services to German intelligence agencies a decade ago but was rejected amid suspicions he intended to operate as a double agent.

The website of AfD’s top candidate to the European parliamentary elections in June, Maximilian Krah, lists Jian Guo as one of his assistants. Krah said he only knew about the arrest from the media, and if the charges were proven, he would dismiss Guo.

Not the First Spy

This incident came only hours after the arrests of 3 German citizens on suspicion of passing on technology with military applications to China in return for payment. The incident occurred a week after the Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to China to improve economic bilateral relations and discuss Beijing’s support for Russia in its war with Ukraine.

The two espionage cases are not connected, according to German media. The head of the domestic intelligence agency pointed out that the arrests of the three German nationals on Monday could be “just the tip of the iceberg” of spy rings operating in Germany, the Guardian reported.

Meanwhile in Britain, two men were charged with spying for China between 2021 and 2023, including one who previously worked as a parliamentary researcher for a prominent lawmaker in the Conservative Party.

Increasing Espionage

Western officials have raised concern about the growing Chinese espionage efforts. On March 25, the US and UK accused China of a sweeping cyber espionage campaign against millions of people, including lawmakers, academics, journalists and companies including defense contractors.

On the same vein, the Norwegian government warned in February of the security threat posed by Chinese intelligence networks in Europe. Norwegian intelligence agency’s annual report on security challenges said that these networks activities include “political intelligence and industrial espionage, and cyberspace is the main gateway,” according to Newsweek.

The Norwegian document warned that “Chinese intelligence services operate all over Europe,” adding that they are assisted by civilian actors including “diplomats, travel delegations, private individuals, businesses and special-interest groups.”

In October 2023, the heads of security agencies of the Five Eyes alliance, comprising US, UK, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand, warned against Chinese espionage efforts.

During an event in California, the MI5 head, Ken McCallum, told BBC that more than 20,000 people in the UK have been approached covertly online by Chinese spies, warning of “an epic scale” of Chinese spying.

Chinese Spies in Europe

In addition to Germany and Britain, Chinese espionage activities have been spotted in other European countries. On April 18, the Dutch military intelligence agency (MIVD) noted in its annual report that Chinese spies had targeted Dutch industries, including semiconductor, aerospace and maritime, trying to access advanced technology with the aim of strengthening Beijing’s armed forces.

On February 6, Dutch intelligence agencies said that Chinese state-backed cyber spies had gained access to a Dutch military network last year, in what it called “part of a trend of Chinese political espionage against the Netherland and its allies.”

In December 2023, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandr De Croo reacted to media reports alleging that Beijing had recruited a member of the Belgian far-right party Vlaams Belang as an agent. He described China as a “sometimes very hostile” country.

Moreover, Poland arrested a former Polish intelligence agent and an ex-employee of the Chinese tech giant Huawei in 2019 on suspicion of spying for Beijing.

China’s Response

In response to reports of Chinese espionage in Germany, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin described these reports as “hype” intended to discredit and suppress China.

He told a press conference on Tuesday that China had always adhered to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs and it hoped that the German side would abandon their “cold war mentality.”

Short link :

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button