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Britain plans to tighten curbs on Chinese citizens over spy threat, Bloomberg

Britain plans to tighten curbs on Chinese citizens over spy threat, Bloomberg Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The UK government is considering reducing the number of Chinese citizens allowed to enter the country on official business due to espionage threats from Beijing, reports Bloomberg.

Ministers and security agencies are discussing a review of border rules applied to diplomats and other individuals on so-called official business. The aim is to compel China and other countries to provide more detailed information and allow more time for checks.

Options include limiting the number of people who can enter under diplomatic or equivalent rules. Or it may involve restricting the scope of official or state-sponsored activity not requiring a visa.

Threats from China

Potential tightening of measures comes amid concerns over China's growing influence in the UK, from university campuses to its involvement in critical industries.

A parliamentary committee warned last year that the UK's approach to the national security threat from China was "completely inadequate." It clarified that too much attention was given to short-term economic gains rather than long-term risks.

MI5 chief Ken McCallum has stated that Chinese spies have contacted more than 20,000 individuals in the UK.

China's espionage activities worldwide

Recently, a US Navy officer was sentenced to 27 months in prison for accepting nearly $15,000 in bribes from a Chinese intelligence officer in exchange for photographs of US military information.

And a year ago, China might have been using its spy balloons over British airspace.