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Iran Press TV

UK picks new diplomatic fight with China over recruitment of local staff as Sinophopbia intensifies

Iran Press TV

Monday, 21 December 2020 2:05 PM

The alleged recruitment of members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by UK diplomatic missions has triggered alarm in the British national security apparatus, exacerbating Sinophobia in the process.

The controversy erupted after revelations by the Mail on Sunday (December 12), which purported to show how some names which appeared in a leaked list of nearly two million members of the CCP occupied sensitive positions at the British consulate in Shaghai and hundreds of other positions in British or British-linked companies across China.

The companies include world famous brands such as Airbus, Boeing and Rolls-Royce. In addition, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and AstraZeneca also employ local staff as do leading British banks HSBC and Standard Chartered.

The British Consulate in Shanghai houses an all-important MI6 station, where top-secret material is routinely handled by senior British intelligence officers. In this regard, a senior Whitehall intelligence source said: "In that station [the local Chinese recruit] will be sat one floor away from the MI6 team and could have identified [British] intelligence officers."

Reacting to the news, former Tory leader, Iain Duncan Smith told the Mail on Sunday (December 12): "The Government must now move to expel and remove any members of the Communist Party from our Consuls throughout China. They can either serve the UK or the Chinese Communist Party. They cannot do both".

While there is no evidence that any of the alleged CCP members are involved in espionage, British officials have nevertheless voiced deep concern.

A senior British intelligence source has sharply criticized the Foreign Office and broader recruitment processes by British government departments and private companies by asserting that: "It's ridiculous that we employ local staff on the cheap and compromise the country's security in the process".

The security source had a simple remedy for the problem: "If that means reducing numbers of staff or services, or sending out more of our own diplomats, then that's what must be done".

The Mail on Sunday (December 20) reports that the security unit at Rolls-Royce has launched an investigation into the alleged employment of CCP members on its payroll.

In a hyperbolic flourish, the former Tory leader, Duncan Smith, who is also a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), proclaimed: "This investigation proves members of the CCP are now spread around the globe, with members working for some of the world's most important multinational corporations, academic institutions and our own diplomatic services."

The contrived controversy surrounding this affair appears to be part of a coordinated British diplomatic and political offensive against China. To that end, it is symptomatic of escalating Sinophobia in British government and security circles.

Not content with denying Huawei access to the UK's embryonic 5G network and securitizing China's scientific and industrial presence in Britain, sections of the British establishment appear to be intent on fighting China on its own soil by denying local Chinese the opportunity to work for British organizations.

It is worth remembering that the employment of local staff by foreign embassies and consulates is normal practice around the world and the concerns raised by British officials in this matter amount to much ado about nothing.

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