UK government under pressure to take tougher line on China amid spying allegations
The UK government is facing pressure to take a tougher line on China after recent allegations surfaced of Chinese spies infiltrating British universities. The Guardian reported that undercover agents pretending to be international students at the University of Southampton were involved in espionage activities targeting military research.
The Home Secretary Priti Patel has called on universities to be more vigilant about hosting foreign students from countries of concern.
The government has also promised to deliver a set of new laws that will provide “cutting-edge powers” to tackle the threat posed by hostile states. It has yet to release the details of the legislation, but it’s expected to include measures to make it easier to identify and alert those affected by foreign espionage and tighter regulation of foreign influence in the UK.
In addition, the government has promised to build up UK intelligence and security capabilities, and to cooperate more closely with allies, including the US, on tackling the growing threat from China.
The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has also raised concerns about China’s efforts to “undermine our values and institutions”, and has said he will be pushing for “strong action” to address any human rights abuses.
Overall, these measures indicate a more hard-line approach from the UK government with regards to China. It is yet to be seen how effective these steps will be in combatting Chinese spying activities in the UK.