OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The top law enforcement agencies from the United States and Great Britain have issued a threat warning involving China during a first-ever joint declaration.
Citing a “game-changing challenge” posed by Beijing’s Communist government, the agency chiefs said that China is “covertly applying pressure across the globe” in an attempt to undermine the West and the U.S. in particular.
The UK’s Daily Mail reports:
Director general Ken McCallum said MI5 is running seven times as many investigations into China as it was four years ago, and plans to ‘grow as much again’ to tackle the nation’s widespread attempts at interference.
In an unprecedented joint address with the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, at MI5’s Thames House headquarters in London on Wednesday, business leaders and academic chiefs also heard warnings that a Chinese takeover of Taiwan could ‘represent one of the most horrific business disruptions the world has ever seen’.
In their historic speech, the security chiefs warned of China’s ruling community party, headed up by President Xi Jinping, attempting to ‘covertly apply pressure across the globe’.
The two agency chiefs also warned that the Chinese government is a growing threat to global business activity, economies, and technology, particularly as it pertains to Taiwan, which Beijing has long considered part of the mainland and just a “renegade province.”
“Today is the first time the heads of the FBI and MI5 have shared a public platform,” McCallum said. “We’re doing so to send the clearest signal we can on a massive shared challenge: China.
“The most game-changing challenge we face comes from the Chinese communist party. It’s covertly applying pressure across the globe,” the MI5 chief continued. “MI5 has already more than doubled our previously-constrained effort against Chinese activity of concern. Today we’re running seven times as many investigations as we were in 2018.
“We plan to grow as much again, while also maintaining significant effort against Russian and Iranian covert threats,” he said.
Later, he told reporters: “We plan to double again. China is the most game-changing threat in the sense that it pervades so many aspects of our national life.”
The FBI has no closer partner than MI5. We work together on almost every mission our agencies confront—from countering terrorism to cybertheft and transnational repression to espionage.
Now, you’ll notice that there’s a common thread running through all the challenges we tackle together, which is that they’re all hard.
Our world is certainly filled with enduring, difficult challenges. Not least, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and their ruthless killing of civilians and destruction of homes and infrastructure.
As laser-focused as both our agencies are on the Russia threat, though, I want to talk today about another complex, enduring, and pervasive danger to the kinds of innovative businesses we have here in the audience.
We consistently see that it’s the Chinese government that poses the biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security, and by “our,” I mean both of our nations, along with our allies in Europe and elsewhere.
I’ll start with what this danger looks like. The Chinese government is set on stealing your technology—whatever it is that makes your industry tick—and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market. And they’re set on using every tool at their disposal to do it.
For one, they use intelligence officers to target valuable private sector information—multiplying their efforts by working extensively through scores of “co-optees,” people who aren’t technically Chinese government officials but assist in intelligence operations, spotting and assessing sources to recruit, providing cover and communications, and helping steal secrets in other ways.
We’ve seen the regional bureaus of China’s MSS—their Ministry of State Security—key in specifically on the innovation of certain Western companies it wants to ransack. And I’m talking about companies everywhere from big cities to small towns—from Fortune 100s to start-ups, folks that focus on everything from aviation, to AI, to pharma. We’ve even caught people affiliated with Chinese companies out in the U.S. heartland, sneaking into fields to dig up proprietary, genetically modified seeds, which would have cost them nearly a decade and billions in research to develop themselves.
And those efforts pale in comparison to their lavishly resourced hacking program that’s bigger than that of every other major country combined.
The Chinese Government sees cyber as the pathway to cheat and steal on a massive scale.