as ‘Communist agent’ found at heart of Westminster
By Taryn Pedler
September 10, 2023
CHINESE agents are feared to be using "sex and cash" to woo US and UK officials after a suspected Communist agent was found at the heart of Westminster.
MI5 chiefs have previously warned that China is actively using espionage in an effort to influence political figureheads and steal secrets from The West.
And it was revealed last night cops have arrested a parliamentary researcher accused of spying for China.
The alleged agent, a man in his 20s, is understood to have had links to MPs with classified information.
He is claimed to have gained access to several politicians privy to classified or highly sensitive information in what is thought to be one of the biggest-ever spying breaches at Westminster.
Experts have repeatedly sounded the alarm over Chinese spies in the UK - and it is feared the latest arrest could be the tip of the iceberg.
And it follows the revelations that Beijing was operating secret police stations across Britain.
Rishi Sunak told Chinese premier Li Qiang he has “significant concerns about Chinese interference in the UK’s parliamentary democracy” in a showdown at the G20.
Meanwhile, UK Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said that the government is taking the claims "extremely seriously" while stating that "China is an epoch-defining challenge" as he spoke on the investigation.
But this is not the first case of its kind as MPs and experts revealed from as early as 2018 that it is almost a "certainty" that Chinese agents are active in the UK and the US.
The alarm was sounded after a US court sentenced Xu Yanjun - a Chinese spy - to 20 years in prison after he was convicted of plotting to steal trade secrets.
Yanjun was accused of playing a leading role in a five-year Chinese state-backed scheme to steal commercial secrets from US and French aviation and aerospace companies.
Following the incident, US officials said the Chinese government poses the biggest long-term threat to US economic and national security - but China’s foreign ministry labeled the charges against Xu “pure fabrication”.
China has also allegedly used a network of "honey trap" spies to lure British and American officials with sex.
The network of "beautiful women" were believed to be using platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to connect with their prey before luring them in.
They will then bed the target, and use their influence over them to try and extort valuable information for the Communist Party.
Chinese operatives, however, were said to not just be looking for high-profile politicians, but warned that aides, staffers, and interns could also be at risk.
MI5 has issued a warning about Christine Lee as she is suspected to be a Chinese agent Credit: PA
Theresa May's aides were told to be aware of "Chinese spies offering sex" during a visit to the G20 in Hangzhou back in 2016.
And in 2008, MI5 issued a warning that China may use "sexual relationships" to "pressurise individuals to cooperate with them".
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson's former No.2 when he was London Mayor, Ian Clement, revealed in 2009 that he believes he had sex with a Chinese spy.
He suspected he was lured into a honey trap while in Beijing, taking a woman up to his hotel room during the 2008 Olympics.
Clement, who had been briefed by MI6 on the danger, was then drugged before finding the room had been ransacked.
The woman had rifled through the Tory's confidential documents and downloaded details about how the capital is run from his BlackBerry smartphone.
And back in China in 2012 it emerged an 18-year-old woman, Zhao Hongxia, was used to bring down a Communist Party official by filming a sex tape with him to extort him.
She was reportedly employed by a criminal gang - but her sting ended up with Chinese anti-corruption officials bringing down the party boss.
But this was just the tip of the iceberg, in a long series of incidents that saw suspected Chinese spies attempting to lure in British and American officials.
In December 2020 it emerged US Congressman Eric Swalwell had a relationship with suspected Chinese spy Christine Fang.
Known as Fang Fang, she also reportedly had sex with two mayors and targeted politicians to infiltrate US political circles.
The suspected spy targeted aspiring politicians from 2011 to 2015 and had a reported focus on Swalwell.
Fang was believed to have been sent to gather information in the US by the Ministry of State Security in China.
Shortly after this and as federal agents were circling, she fled the US.
The revelations about Swalwell and Fang sent shockwaves through the political world in the US - with former CIA officials warning there could be "thousands" of Chinese agents in America.
MI5 has said it was "looking to do more" to counter the threat from China, and its chief Ken McCallum described the nation as Britain's biggest long-term spy challenge.
Benedict Rogers, who founded the Conservative Party's human rights commission and Hong Kong Watch, previously told The Sun Online he "wouldn't be surprised" if China is using honey traps in the UK.
He warned there has been "naivety and kowtowing" to China's intentions and he urged the West to stand together to combat a "particularly angry and aggressive" China post-pandemic.
Then in January 2022, MI5 raised the alarm again as Chinese national Christine Lee was accused of trying to influence Labour MP Barry Gardiner, as well as several others.
Lee was accused of "facilitating financial donations to serving and aspiring politicians" - having forked over £675,586.88 to either Mr Gardiner's office or the Labour Party.
Officials were left fearful that Westminster was riddled with foreign agents after MI5 warned MPs to avoid Lee.
MI5 spooks alleged in an alert that Lee had “acted covertly in coordination” with the United Front Work Department (UFWD), of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and was “judged to be involved in political interference activities in the UK.”
Lee had even rubbed shoulders with Jeremy Corbyn, and David Cameron and received a Points of Light Award from Theresa May.
Following the incident, The Chinese Embassy in London denied claims of any political interference.
A spokesman said at the time: “We have no need and never seek to ‘buy influence’ in any foreign parliament.”
Professor Anthony Glees, from the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, warned Beijing uses cash and sex to lure in unwitting officials in the West, when speaking to The Sun in January.
He warned the revelations about Lee are a "big wake up call" for the UK.
Chinese agents want two things "information and influence", the prof said, and they will use everything from offers of money, to lavish trips to China or even sexual "honey traps" to get what they want from their prey.
He told The Sun Online: "What the Chinese want are two things: first, information, secret if possible, but any information to which those in privileged positions might have access denied to ordinary folk."
Prof Glees went on: "Second, they want influence. They know we are now far more anxious about President Xi and his ambitions which are indeed very worrying.
"So people who might speak up for Xi and China are hotly desired."
It has long been feared that Chinese agents have been operating to try spread Communist ideals and to steal secrets from Britain.
And it not just politicians who could be at risk, but businessmen, academics, political aides, staffers and interns may also be targets for the Chinese.
Professor Glees warned that the UK must redouble its efforts to weed out potential agents coming to work in the UK.
He said: "You don't get permission to work in the West unless your loyalty to the Communist regime is beyond question."