UK police charge two men with spying for China

LONDON — British police on Monday charged two men with spying for China, including one reported to have worked as a researcher in Britain’s parliament for a prominent lawmaker in the governing Conservative Party.  

Anxiety has mounted across Europe about China’s alleged espionage activity and Britain has become increasingly vocal about its concerns in recent months.  

The two men, aged 32 and 29, were charged with providing prejudicial information to China in breach of the Official Secrets Act, and will appear in court Friday. 

“This has been an extremely complex investigation into what are very serious allegations,” said Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Counter Terrorism Command at the Metropolitan Police. 

The Chinese embassy in London said the allegation that China was trying to steal British intelligence was “completely fabricated.” 

“We firmly oppose it and urge the UK side to stop anti-China political manipulation and stop putting on such self-staged political farce,” an embassy spokesperson said in a statement. 

One of the men was named by police on Monday as Christopher Cash.  

In September, the Sunday Times reported that Cash had been arrested for spying while working as a researcher in parliament for Conservative lawmaker Alicia Kearns, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee. 

A Christopher Cash was listed on parliamentary documents from early 2023 as working for Kearns.  

In September, a lawyer for the arrested man issued a statement denying the accusations of spying without confirming the identity of their client. The same legal firm did not provide a statement on Monday when contacted by Reuters.  

Cash does not have publicly available contact details and could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Last month, the British government summoned the chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in London after accusing Chinese state-backed hackers of stealing data from Britain’s elections watchdog and carrying out a surveillance operation against parliamentarians. 

China denied those allegations, calling them “completely fabricated.” 

The government also said in September Chinese spies were targeting British officials in sensitive positions in politics, defense and business as part of an increasingly sophisticated spying operation to gain access to secrets.  

Separately, Germany on Monday said it had arrested three people on suspicion of working with the Chinese secret service to hand over technology that could be used for military purposes.

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