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Labour Party Accepted £700,000 From Alleged Chinese Spy: Report

Labour Party Accepted £700,000 From Alleged Chinese Spy: Report

Christine Lee, the alleged Chinese Communist spy, reportedly donated over £700,000 to the left-wing Labour Party in Britain as a part of a “political interference” campaign orchestrated by Beijing.

On Thursday, it was revealed that MI5 had contacted the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, warning that the founder of the “British Chinese Project”, Christine Lee had been working to engage with members of parliament to “subvert the process” of democracy.

The main target of the alleged espionage plot centred around former socialist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Barry Gardiner MP.

Lee donated nearly £700,000 in political contributions to the Labour Party, according to The Sun, the vast majority of which directly went into the coffers of former Blair-era minister and Corbyn-era shadow cabinet member Barry Gardiner. Mr Gardiner is reported to have received over £500,000 from Ms Lee over a six-year period.

Beyond the financial investment, the Labour MP was also revealed to have been employing the alleged Chinese spy’s son until Thursday morning, when he claims he was first notified by security services of Ms Lee being an agent of espionage.

“I then went and I immediately contacted her son who has worked in my office as the diary manager and I asked him to tender his resignation forthwith, which he did,” Mr Gardiner told Sky News.

“But I want to stress to you that the security services said to me they had no information that led them to believe that he was aware of his mother’s illegal activity.”

Mr Gardner did admit that he had “spoken openly and frankly” with British intelligence services “for a number of years” about his relationship with Ms Lee. However, he claimed that he was never told to cut off ties with the alleged spy and said that there was “no evidence” that the money she donated to him came from the regime in Beijing.

The Labour MP went on to suggest that his past criticisms of the Chinese Communist Party on issues such as climate change and human rights demonstrated that he was not beholden to China.

The Chinese Communist Party has previously targeted left-wing politicians in a similar manner, including California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, who reportedly employed a Chinese spy as her driver for twenty years.

Lee, the founder of the ‘British Chinese Project’ non-profit, which seeks to “promote engagement, understanding and cooperation between the Chinese community and wider UK society,” has been active in engaging with heavy hitters from across the political specturm in Britain.

The purported spy has been pictured with former Labour Party leader, socialist Jeremy Corbyn, as well as with former Tory Party Prime Minister David Cameron, who has long sought to increase economic ties between the UK and the communist state, including attempts to forge a £1 billion investment fund with China.

Cameron’s right-hand man, Chancellor George Osborne, even boasted of a “golden era” that had been created between Britain and China.

Lee was also given an award by Cameron’s successor, former PM Theresa May, who said at the time: “You should feel very proud of the difference that ‘The British Chinese Project’ is making in promoting engagement, understanding, and cooperation between the Chinese and British communities in the UK.

“I also wish you well with your work to further the inclusion and participation of British-Chinese people in the UK political system.”

Parliamentary records also revealed that the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davey was also a recipient of political donations from Ms Lee.

Responding to the revelation, Sir Ed said on Friday that he was “shocked” over the donation, saying: “I can’t even remember this woman, to be frank.”

The Chinese Embassy in London denied that Lee was operating as a spy in Britain, going on to accuse MI5 of using smear and intimidation tactics to target the Chinese community in the UK.

“China always adheres to the principle of non-interference in other country’s internal affairs,” a spokesman said.

“We have no need and never seek to ‘buy influence’ in any foreign parliament. We firmly oppose the trick of smearing and intimidation against the Chinese community in the UK.”

The former leader of the Conservative Party and prominent critic of the communist state, Sir Iain Duncan Smith said that he believed that “this is clearly a form of spying”.

Sir Iain, who was personally sanctioned last year by Beijing over his efforts to label the persecution of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region of China a genocide, went on to say that he has been told that Lee and her associates will not be deported from the UK.

“Why in heaven’s name is such an agent allowed in the country?” he questioned.

Another MP who was sanctioned by the communist regime, Tory Tim Loughton said that the scandal shows “why I and other MPs sanctioned by China have repeatedly called for a full audit of exactly where all the sinister tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party have bought influence or inveigled their way into so many institutions, board rooms and organisations across the UK.”

The Chinese spying scandal comes just days after the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua released a James Bond parody, entitled ‘0.07 No Time to Die Laughing’ which mocked the notion of China representing an espionage threat to Britain, in particular concerns over Chinese telecom firm Huawei having a “backdoor” for Beijing to access the data of Britons.

The cringe sketch came in response to a speech in November from the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Richard Moore, in which he characterised China as the top priority for the foreign intelligence service.

“The Chinese Intelligence Services are highly capable and continue to conduct large scale espionage operations against the UK and our allies. This includes targeting those working in government, industries, or on research of particular interest to the Chinese state. They also monitor and attempt to exercise undue influence over the Chinese diaspora,” Moore said.

“Adapting to a world affected by the rise of China is the single greatest priority for MI6. We are deepening our understanding of China across the UK intelligence community, and widening the options available to the government in managing the systemic challenges that it poses.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka



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