Rare MI5 alert warns of agent ‘seeking to covertly interfere in UK politics’

Alert issued by MI5 about Christine Ching Kui Lee after concerns were raised that she was not being open about her connections to the Chinese state.

Security alert
Security alert

The security services issued a rare warning to MPs and peers amid fears an agent of the Chinese government has been active in Parliament.

On Thursday a Security Service Interference Alert was issued by MI5 containing allegations about Christine Ching Kui Lee after concerns were raised that she was not being open about her connections to the Chinese state and may have ulterior motives for her involvement with parliamentarians.

While it is not the first time such an alert has been issued, official warnings of this nature are relatively rare.

The notice said: “The purpose of this Security Service Interference Alert (SSIA) is to draw attention to an individual knowingly engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”

Those working for the UFWD have been “known to be involved in political interference activity, seeking to deceive, corrupt or coerce politicians and high profile individuals into making statements or taking action in support of the objectives of the CCP, and to silence voices which are critical of the CCP”, the alert said.

Lee, described by the alert as having affiliations to the British-Chinese Project and the China Overseas Friendship, has “acted covertly in coordination with the UFWD and is judged to be involved in political interference activities in the UK”.

The notice added: “We judge that the UFWD is seeking to covertly interfere in UK politics through establishing links with established and aspiring Parliamentarians across the political spectrum. The UFWD seeks to cultivate relationships with influential figures in order to ensure the UK political landscape is favourable to the CCPs agenda and to challenge those that raise concerns about CCP activity, such as human rights.

“Lee has been engaged in the facilitation of financial donations to political parties, Parliamentarians, aspiring Parliamentarians and individuals seeking political office in the UK, including facilitating donations to political entities on behalf of foreign nationals.

“Lee has publicly stated that her activities are to represent the UK Chinese community and increase diversity.

“However, the aforementioned activity has been undertaken in covert coordination with the UFWD, with funding provided by foreign nationals located in China and Hong Kong.

“Lee has extensive engagement with individuals across the UK political spectrum, including through the now disbanded All-Party Parliamentary Chinese in Britain Group, and may aspire to establish further APPGs to further the CCP’s agenda.”

Warning anyone contacted by her to be “mindful of her affiliation with the Chinese state and remit to advance the CCP’s agenda in UK politics”, the alert also encouraged anyone who receives any “concerning or suspicious contact” to speak to the Parliamentary Security Director.

And it welcomed “any feedback or comments on the activities of the individuals concerned, particularly from those that have already encountered this individual or will do so in the future”.

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