| Last updated
The heads of the UK's MI5 and the United States' FBI came together this week to offer a warning about an 'immense' threat from China.
FBI director Christopher Wray and MI5 director Ken McCallum made their first-ever joint public appearance in Thames House, London after both security services had to step up their workload in relation to Chinese activity.
In the last three years alone, MI5 has doubled its work on the matter and will be doubling it again, running now seven times as many investigations related to activities of the Chinese Communist Party than they were in 2018.
“The most game-changing challenge we face comes from the Chinese Communist Party,” Mr McCallum said.— Deborah Haynes (@haynesdeborah) July 6, 2022
“It’s covertly applying pressure across the globe. This might feel abstract. But it’s real and it’s pressing. We need to talk about it. We need to act.” 5/
During their appearance, Wray told the audience the Chinese government was 'set on stealing your technology' and said the country was the 'biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security', BBC News reports.
He described the threat as 'immense' and 'breath-taking', adding that if China forcibly took Taiwan it would 'represent one of the most horrific business disruptions the world has ever seen'.
Wray claimed China has deployed cyber espionage to 'cheat and steal on a massive scale', warning that the country has a hacking programme which is bigger than that of every other major country combined. The FBI director also said the threat was beyond what 'even many sophisticated businesspeople realised'.
Intelligence about cyber threats has been shared with 37 countries, according to McCallum, who also offered examples about the ways the country has been thwarted previously.
He described how one British aviation expert travelled to China twice to be 'wined and dined' after being offered an enticing job opportunity, after which he was asked for information on military aircraft by a company acting as a front for Chinese intelligence officers.
"That's where we stepped in," McCallum said.
This spring, the Chinese government is also said to have directly interfered in a congressional election in New York because they did not want a candidate who had previously protested at Tiananmen Square to be elected. The government hired a private investigator to find derogatory information, and made an effort to manufacture a controversy using a sex worker when they could not find anything, Wray said.
Wray further claimed China has used the conflict in Ukraine to learn 'lessons' such as insulating themselves from future sanctions. If the country were to invade Taiwan, the FBI head explained that the economic disruption would be worse than we've seen already this year.
"China has for far too long counted on being everybody's second-highest priority," Wray said. "They are not flying under the radar anymore."
New legislation has been established to help deal with the threat, McCallum said, but he warned the UK needs to become a 'harder target' by ensuring all parts of society were aware of the risks.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read