Concerns over Chinese espionage within Britain have been escalated this week after it was revealed that the UK’s secret service MI5 had warned the speaker of the House of Commons that Christine Lee, the founder of the British Chinese Project, is believed to be working clandestinely as a spy for Beijing.
It has been reported that Lee had given some £700,000 in political donations , the vast majority of which was directed to the Labour Party, in particular leftist Corbyn acolyte Barry Gardiner MP. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davy, also received £5,000 from Ms Lee. Both politicians have denied that they have been influenced by the CCP.
Commenting on the spying scandal, Brexit’s Nigel Farage said that he was not surprised by the revelations, noting that the “British establishment have been sucking up to China for a long time.”
“If there’s one Chinese spy in parliament, you can bet your life there’s a lot more than that,” he said, going on to call for a “complete root and branch” investigation into Communist China’s connections to the British political class.
Mr Farage noted that political figures such as George Osborne — the former right-hand man of ex-Prime Minister David Cameron — had previously celebrated fostering a “ golden era ” between Britain and China during their time in office.
Mr Cameron, himself, has also faced criticism over his connections to China after he tried to establish a £1 billion investment fund for Greensill Capital with Chinese partners.
Cameron is not the only former PM to seek financial ties to China, with former Labour Party Prime Minister going on to serve as a liaison between Abu Dhabi and the “highest levels of the Communist Party and state-run corporations” in the Xinjiang region of China.
Blair also reportedly earned £237,000 — more than his entire yearly salary as PM — for a single speech delivered in the Chinese industrial city of Dongguan in 2007.
Nigel Farage went on to note that many in the civil service, politicians and business leaders have accepted high-profile positions with firms from China. For example, the former head of the BT Group (formerly British Telecom) Sir Michael Rake served on the board of controversial telecom Huawei from 2019 until 2021.
Other prominent British figures such as the former CEO of British Petroleum (BP) Lord John Browne, top civil servant Sir Andrew Cahn, and former chancellor of the University of Southampton, Dame Helen Alexander have all served in an advisory capacity to Huawei, which has been accused of being effectively state-owned .
On Saturday, the Daily Mail uncovered a Youtube video published by the UK Chinese Journal News account in 2015, in which the alleged Chinese spy revealed that she had lobbied 480 MPs on behalf of the “Chinese community” for the British Chinese Project.
“We were able to force our concerns to the Parliament directly,” she said.
Lee added that her law firm — which was the only firm in Britain allowed to operate in China — facilitated Chinese firms open up business ties in the UK as well as helping British businesses operate in China.
The paper went on to report that Ms Lee’s website, which has since been deleted, had described her as a legal advisor to the Chinese embassy in the UK.
On top of lobbying MPs for the “Chinese community”, Lee also reportedly campaigned for the pro-EU Remain movement during the 2016 Brexit referendum, raising questions over possible Chinese influence over the vote.