The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) warns of China’s persistent and aggressive intelligence activities against the UK. They criticize successive governments for inadequate response to this threat, raising concerns about China’s influence in UK universities and their ambition in the civil nuclear energy sector.
The report asserts China targets UK’s industry and technology, posing a potential existential threat to liberal democracies. It emphasizes that the UK is significantly interesting to China for espionage and interference, ranking just below China’s top priority targets, thus posing a challenge for UK intelligence agencies including MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
The committee labels the UK’s current resources as inadequate to tackle China’s comprehensive approach to overseas espionage and interference. The report warns of a danger of short-term thinking and a lack of long-term planning to counter China’s threat, stressing the UK’s current catch-up position.
The ISC report also expresses concern over Chinese influence in the UK’s higher education and civil nuclear energy sectors. They believe that the UK government has been largely indifferent to these issues, leaving room for potential security risks.