China denies interference in UK politics after MI5 warning
China has denied interfering in UK politics after MI5 warned an agent had infiltrated Parliament.
In the letter, the speaker told MPs that a woman called Christine Lee has been “engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party with current and aspiring MPs.”
She then gave donations to politicians, including Labour MP Barry Gardiner, who received more than £420,000 from her.
The Chinese Embassy in London accused MI5 of “smearing and intimidation” against the UK’s Chinese community.
In a statement on the embassy’s website, a spokesman said: “China always adheres to the principle of non-interference in other country’s internal affairs.
“We have no need and never seek to ‘buy influence’ in any foreign parliament. We firmly oppose the trick of smearing and intimidation against the Chinese community in the UK.”
According to the alert, Ms Lee claimed her involvement with Parliament had been to “represent the UK Chinese and increase diversity”.
But MI5 said that activity “had been undertaken in covert coordination with the United Front Work Department [of the CCP], with funding provided by foreign nationals located in China and Hong Kong”.
The security service said Ms Lee had “extensive engagement with individuals across the UK political spectrum”, including the now-disbanded All-Party Parliamentary Group called Chinese in Britain.
MI5 warned Ms Lee “may aspire to establish APPGs [parliamentary groups] to further the CCP’s agenda”.
Conservative MP and former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith brought up the alert in the Commons on Thursday.
He said it was “a matter of grave concern”, calling for Ms Lee to be deported and demanding the government make a statement to the House.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was “deeply concerning” that someone “who has knowingly engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party has targeted parliamentarians”.
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