West chasing ‘imagined enemies’ – Beijing
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has condemned FBI Director Christopher Wray and MI5 Director Ken McCallum for accusing Beijing of stealing Western technology and posing a “pervasive danger” to national security. Such accusations are “lies,” the ministry said.
In a rare joint press conference in London on Wednesday, Wray and McCallum warned business leaders that China was determined to steal their technology, and operated a hacking program “bigger than that of every country combined,” according to multiple media reports on the event.
McCallum added that China’s government exerts “covert pressure across the globe” and presents “the most game-changing challenge” to the national security of the US and UK. He added that MI5, a domestic agency roughly analogous to the FBI, is currently running seven times as many China-focused investigations as it was in 2018.
While the British intelligence boss cautioned that “hostile activity is happening on UK soil right now,” Beijing firmly rejected the accusations, with its embassy in London labeling the remarks “completely groundless.”
Wray “has been playing up the so-called China threat to smear and attack China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Thursday. “Facts have fully proven that the US is the biggest threat to world peace, stability and development,” he continued, adding that China calls on Washington to “stop spreading lies and stop making irresponsible remarks.”
Regarding McCallum, Zhao said that the UK’s two leading intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, are “both experts on planting spies,” and are “trying to project their own disgraceful acts onto China through these false, sensational reports.”
“This head of the UK security service needs to cast away imagined demons, leave the dark room and meet the sunlight … and stop creating imagined enemies,” he continued.
China has long faced, and rejected, claims of cybercrime and industrial espionage. Beijing’s alleged use of Chinese technology firms to collect data on Western users has led to the blacklisting of dozens of these firms by Washington, and China has been blamed for myriad cyber attacks and intellectual property theft incidents, both proven and unproven.
Beijing reportedly has concerns of its own that Western companies may be using their products to conduct surveillance in China, with Tesla vehicles allegedly banned from a Chinese Communist Party resort town near Beijing ahead of the party’s summer conference.
Amid the claims and counterclaims, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to meet this week with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a gathering of G20 foreign ministers in Bali, Indonesia. Blinken accused China last week of “seeking to undermine the rules-based international order,” and is expected to try and pressure Wang into curtailing China’s growing partnership with Russia, according to US officials.
China has thus far refused to condemn Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, or to back Western sanctions against Moscow.