China Accuses MI6 of Enlisting Chinese Couple as Spies

China Accuses MI6 of Enlisting Chinese Couple as Spies
credit: thefrontierpost

London (Parliament News) – China’s Ministry of State Security accuses MI6 of recruiting two Chinese state employees as spies, alleging manipulation of a husband-wife duo, intensifying global espionage tensions.

China’s secret service has blamed MI6 for turning two Chinese state employees and recruiting them as spies. The Ministry of State Security (MSS), which has duty for China’s intelligence gathering and secret police, stated it had found the “major espionage case” involving a husband and wife both operating in “core key units” of a Chinese state agency.

The accusation, which was reported about by Chinese state media outlets, follows several high-profile cases of alleged Chinese spying in Europe, including in the UK, Germany and Belgium.

What Allegations Does China’s Ministry of State Security Make?

In a post on its WeChat account, the MSS stated the husband, surnamed Wang, had been recruited first when he journeyed to the UK in 2015 as part of an exchange programme. After Wang reached “MI6 deliberately arranged for appropriate personnel to take special care of him”, the MSS stated. Wang was invited to dinner meetings and offered visits and tours, as MI6 operated “to understand his character flaws and interests”, it alleged.

How Did MI6 Allegedly Recruit the Chinese State Employees?

It stated they took advantage of Wang’s “strong desire for money”, and placed for him to give “consulting services” before persuading him to return to China and spy for the British government. Through Wang the British spies then compelled his wife, surnamed Zhou, it said. Wang had been initially reluctant but “couldn’t withstand the British reiterated persuasion, enticement and even pressure”, it said. “He and his wife together became British spies.”

Why Did China Publicize the Espionage Allegations?

The MSS stated the case was under further examination but did not say if the couple had been imprisoned or charged. In January it accused MI6 of conscripting a national from a third, unnamed, unknown country to spy on China, urging him to “use his public identity” to gather information during multiple trips to China from 2015 onwards.

The MSS has been increasingly public, casting a WeChat account last year. It has utilised its social media profile to report espionage cases and inform citizens on how to avoid being co-opted by foreign forces. 

What Recent Espionage Cases Have Emerged Involving China?

Last month three men – an immigration enforcement officer called Matthew Trickett, a Hong Kong trade official operating in London and a Border Force officer – were indicted by a court in London for unlawfully helping the Hong Kong intelligence service. Beijing blamed the UK for false accusations, “wanton stigmatisation” and arbitrary detentions about the charges.

Trickett, a former Royal Marine, was uncovered dead in a park near where he lived in Maidenhead, Berkshire, a week later. Police expressed the death was being treated as unexplained. In April, two UK citizens, including a parliamentary worker, were arrested over accusations they provided prejudicial data to a foreign state, China. The men, Christopher Cash and Christopher Berry, had been charged in March last year.

The same month, three German nationals, including a married couple from Düsseldorf and a man from Bad Homburg, were apprehended on suspicion of passing on technical military details to Chinese authorities in return for money. Later that month a close consultant to a leading member of Germany’s far-right populist Alternative für Deutschland party (AfD) was captured on suspicion of spying for China.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.