What You Need To Know:
It came to light on Monday that two individuals in the United Kingdom, including a Parliament researcher, were arrested in March on suspicion of spying for China.
The detained researcher, known for close ties to the Conservative Party, staunchly asserted his innocence. The Metropolitan Police, overseen by the Counter Terrorism Command, confirmed the arrests but withheld names due to pending charges. Both suspects were granted bail until October.
As per the Sunday Times of London, the detainee worked as a researcher for prominent Conservative Party members, granting him unrestricted access to both the Commons and Lords. His affiliations were traced to Alicia Kearns, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and her predecessor, Tom Tugendhat, now the security minister.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wasted no time addressing the issue with China’s Premier Li Qiang during the G-20 summit in India. In New Delhi, he voiced his concerns over any interference in the nation’s democratic proceedings, deeming it entirely unacceptable.
China denied the allegations, branding them as unfounded fabrications. Mao Ning, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “The so-called claim that China is conducting espionage against the U.K. is completely fabricated and China firmly opposes it. We urge the U.K. to stop spreading false information, anti-China political manipulation and malicious slander.”
The parliamentary researcher, whose name remains concealed, released a statement through the law firm Birnberg Peirce, asserting his innocence. “I am completely innocent,” the statement declared, refuting the media’s portrayal of him as a ‘Chinese spy’. “It is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent. I have spent my career trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party. To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.”