The suspicion is that the person concerned, who is thought to be based in the UK, is connected to the Chinese state – but the individual concerned is not being expelled or prosecuted. The person does not work at the Chinese embassy, it is understood.
It is understood that politicians across the political spectrum may have been targeted in an exercise that has been monitored by MI5 for some time. “This has not been about targeting the government in particular,” a source added.
Concerns about Chinese espionage have been growing among Britain’s intelligence community. Late last year Richard Moore, the head of MI6, said that China had become the foreign intelligence agency’s “single greatest priority” for the first time in its history.
In 2020, Britain quietly expelled three alleged Chinese spies last year who it said were posing as journalists. The intelligence agency MI5 concluded the three worked for China’s powerful Ministry of State Security (MSS), although claims of espionage are typically rejected by Beijing.
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