London: In the past year the British government on the identification of its intelligence agency expelled three Chinese spies posing as journalists, according to a report published in the Daily Telegraph.
The paper, on Thursday, quoted a senior government source and reported that the three Chinese were intelligence officers working for Beijing’s Ministry of State Security.
While referring to Britain’s domestic intelligence agency MI5, the Daily Telegraph reported that spies’ real identities were exposed by MI5 and they had since been extradited to China.
Sources said that all the three had been claiming that they were employees of three different Chinese media agencies. However, sources did not name the Chinese media agencies the three spies were claiming to be employed by. They added that the three spies arrived in the United Kingdom over the past 12 months.
So far, no official statement from Beijing came to respond to the report about the deportation of expelling three spies posing as journalists.
UK-China relations have become increasingly tensed after the UK criticized China over the issues relating to a new policy on British National Overseas (BNO) after the mass crackdown in Hong Kong, violation of Britain rules by China’s state-sponsored broadcasters and security concerns over 5G technology.
The British regulators on Thursday annulled license of China’s state-sponsored news network CGTN after finding it broke the UK laws.
The regulators claimed that CTGN’s Star China Media Ltd failed to show it had editorial oversight over the network and a proposed transfer to another media group would still keep it tied to the Chinese Communist Party.
The English-language broadcaster is already facing criticism for projecting the Communist Party line in its broadcasts.
In the United States, CTGN is one of seven Chinese media outlets that have been recognized as state-sponsored rather than as independent media.
Recently UK announced its new visa policy for BNO passport holders soon after China announced that it would no longer recognize the Hong Konger’s BNO passports as a valid travel document or proof of identity.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian a week ago during a news briefing had said that the republic would no longer recognize the BNO as a proof of identity or valid document for travel.
China’s announcement had come amid intensified tensions with the UK over its plan to offer millions of Hong Kong residents a path to residency and subsequent citizenship.
Reacting to UK’s announcement of the new policy for BNO Hong Kongers, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) had strongly condemned the UK’s decision. The HKSAR had opposed the British government and said that it violated international commitments by offering a new policy to BNO passport holders.
The UK citing security concerns also barred China’s tech giant Huawei from its domestic 5G networks over security concerns. The 5G technology ensures the fastest internet speed as well as the capacity to support more wireless devices. Its connections are already available in several cities of the UK but its coverage can be meagre.