The UK government is under pressure to take a tougher line on China amid allegations of foreign espionage and influence-peddling in British politics.
The recent allegations concerning China’s involvement in a security breach at the House of Commons have particularly raised alarm about the potential threat posed by Chinese intelligence operations.
The allegations follow reports that Beijing has been infiltrating UK universities to spy on academics and recruit students to act as agents for the Chinese state.
The UK government has taken some steps to address the issue, such as introducing new legislations for better reporting on foreign investment into the UK and stronger counter-espionage measures. But the UK is also increasingly feeling pressure to take a tougher line on China and its activities in the UK.
The US has already imposed punitive tariffs on Chinese imports and is pushing the UK and other countries to tighten their rules on Chinese tech companies.
The UK is also reportedly planning to limit investment from Chinese companies and draft new legislation to target overseas espionage.
Critics of the UK’s response argue that the UK must take a firmer stance against China, particularly on issues concerning espionage and other forms of interference.
If the UK is seen to be taking a strong stance on such issues, it could help stem the tide of Chinese influence and consequently strengthen UK security.