The Intelligence and Security Committee of the UK Parliament released a long-awaited report on China on Thursday, referring to China as a “security threat.”
The wide-reaching report details what the Committee, chaired by Conservative Party MP Sir Julian Murray Lewis, regards as China’s extensive interference with UK academia, politics, technology and industry. The report concludes that the UK’s current approach to what it describes as a “whole of state” assault by the Chinese government is “completely inadequate” and says that China has “taken advantage” of UK infrastructure.
Committee Chairman Sir Julian Lewis MP said:
This Report considers the nature of the national security threat from China broadly, as well as in relation to three specific areas (Academia, Industry and Technology, and Civil Nuclear Energy). It is the result of an extensive Inquiry by present and past Committees, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank past Members of the ISC for all of their work.
While the report states that China’s influence remains “difficult to detect,” it further states that the committee has “serious concerns over opportunities for espionage” in the UK. Like the UK, Germany is also seeking to address China’s rising influence and potential espionage efforts through the launching of its National Strategy on China. The US has also recently voiced concern over Chinese efforts to suppress dissidents both at home and abroad.
In response to the report, Benedict Rodgers, who serves as the chief executive and co-founder of a UK-based rule of law monitoring organization known as Hong Kong Watch, told JURIST:
This is an extremely important, hard-hitting report which reveals the truth about the extent of the threat which the Chinese Communist Party regime poses to our freedoms and security, and the failure of our government to develop any meaningful strategy to counter it. It is a wake-up call, highlighting the fact that China has penetrated every sector of our economy in what the report calls a “whole of state” assault and alerting us to the warning that unless there is swift and decisive action, Beijing could post an existential threat to our liberal democracy. As someone who has experienced this threat first-hand myself, I welcome this incredibly significant report and urge the government to act upon it.
The committee released the report only days after a coalition of over 60 human rights organizations, bar associations, scholars and Chinese human rights defenders renewed calls for the ruling Chinese Communist Party to comply with international human rights standards regarding their treatment of lawyers and dissidents.