Home News UK summons Chinese ambassador to reprimand as tensions rise

UK summons Chinese ambassador to reprimand as tensions rise


A day after British police charged three men Assist Hong Kong intelligence servicesAmbassador of China to the UK Summoned for formal reprimand The move by the Foreign Office is the latest sign of rising tensions between London and Beijing.

The British government said it had summoned Ambassador Zheng Zeguang to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office after the trio appeared in court on Monday.

The Foreign Office said in a statement that it “clearly calls out China’s recent pattern of behavior against the UK” as unacceptable. It cited cyberattacks, suspected espionage and rewards for information that led to the prosecution of dissidents who fled Hong Kong and resettled in Britain after a crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.

Three men appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday accused of gathering intelligence for Hong Kong and forcing entry into British residential addresses. Hong Kong is a former British colony and a special administrative region of China.

They were identified as Chi Leung (Peter) Wai, 38, from Staines-on-Thames; Matthew Trickett, 37, from Maidenhead; and Chung Biu Yuen, 63, from Hackney, east London.

Mr Yuen is a retired Hong Kong police officer who is currently the office manager of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London, one of 14 Hong Kong government offices outside China.

Mr Way is a border officer at Heathrow Airport and a volunteer police officer in the City of London, the capital’s financial district. He is also the founder of London-based security company D5.it is website He is described as having “over 20 years’ experience in the UK military, police and private security sectors” and “providing clients with a unique and discreet service”.

Mr Trickett is a British immigration enforcement officer and former Royal Marine. Director of a private security companyMTR Consultant.

Hong Kong authorities confirmed that an employee of the London trading office had been charged. In a statement on Monday, the Hong Kong government called on the UK to handle the case fairly and “protect the legitimate rights and interests of the director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office who is suspected of being involved”.

The Chinese Embassy in the UK stated that it firmly opposes and strongly condemns the British fabrication of so-called cases and groundless accusations against the Hong Kong government, and has lodged stern representations with the British side.

The statement also said: “For some time, the UK has made a series of accusations against China, including ‘Chinese espionage’ and cyber attacks. All of these accusations are baseless and defamatory.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Chinese embassy said the Chinese ambassador had told foreign ministry officials that Britain “must stop anti-China political manipulation and not go further down a dangerous path that jeopardizes Sino-British relations.”

Whether the charges against the three are true or false, they focus on broader concerns about the status of pro-democracy activists who sought asylum in the UK after Hong Kong authorities cracked down on youth-led popular protests in 2019 and 2020. .

In January 2021, the UK began allowing some Hong Kong residents to settle in the UK under a special visa scheme. Over 160,000 people attended, including prominent activists and other citizens, rebuild their lives and the pro-democracy movement in Britain itself.

But many activists say the crackdown has followed them to Britain, leading to a series of clashes with pro-Beijing forces.

In November 2021, Hong Kong democracy activists attended an anti-racism event organized by pro-China groups in London’s Chinatown.they are attacked by thugs According to witnesses, in line with the event organizers.

In October 2022, a rally was held outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester become violent when a group dragged a protester through the consulate gates and beat him.

Alicia Kearns, Chair of the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, defendant The then Consul General Zheng Xiyuan participated in the melee. China expelled Mr Zheng and five other officials after the British government asked consular officials to waive diplomatic immunity and allow detectives to question them.

Then in July 2023, Hong Kong announced Bounty $128,000 Obtain information that led to the prosecution of eight fugitive dissidents, including several living in the UK. Hong Kong’s top leader Li Jiachao said they would be “hunted for life.”Five more activists added to bounty list in december.

One of the activists, Simon Cheng, took part in a protest outside the trade offices in leafy Bedford Square in central London on Tuesday afternoon. Mr Cheng, 33, founder of a group for Hong Kongers living in Britain, said he had been in regular contact with police over safety concerns after Hong Kong offered a reward in December for information leading to his arrest.

“Many British dignitaries still come into this building,” he said, pointing to the Hong Kong trade offices behind him, seeking business and trade opportunities. “We cannot tolerate this, which is effectively a dictatorship that suppresses our people.”

About three dozen pro-democracy protesters, many of them young people who fled Hong Kong after the passage of a tough national security law, gathered for the demonstration. Fearful of being targeted by Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, some wore masks to avoid being easily identified, while others spoke freely and shared their full names.

Tony Chung, 23, famous pro-democracy protester He fled to the UK after being jailed last year Many Hong Kongers living in London feel they have to be vigilant about their public roles, said Hong Kongers living in Hong Kong under the national security law.

“They have been worried about these situations and therefore have reduced their participation in political affairs involving Hong Kong’s democracy, human rights and freedoms,” he said. “However, I hope Hong Kong people living in the UK will understand that political fears in particular should be expressed and the UK government must be persuaded to take action.”

Tensions between London and Beijing have grown in recent months as the British government has become increasingly outspoken about accusations of Chinese espionage.

March Britain accuses China The cyber attack compromised the voting records of tens of millions of people, it said, adding that the Chinese tried unsuccessfully to hack into the email accounts of several members of parliament.in april Two men, one of whom is a researcher In parliament, they were accused of spying for China.

Earlier this month, the British government said Personal details of the British Army, Navy and Air Force Members hacked in major data breach. While no source for the attack was identified, several prominent British MPs blamed China.

Anne Keast-Butler, director of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), said in a speech on Tuesday that China had built “an advanced set of cyber capabilities and was leveraging an evolving hacking arsenal.” and data business ecosystem” brokers at its disposal. “

Commenting at a conference, she added that China “posed a real and growing cyber risk to the UK”

Tiffany May Contributed reporting.

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