The UK government is vowing major investments to counter China’s intensifying threats after a scathing parliamentary probe exposed glaring deficiencies in Britain’s approach so far.
In its official response this week, the government acknowledged the urgent need to combat Chinese espionage schemes infiltrating officials, military, and industry circles to pilfer sensitive expertise. It pledged to review rules to stem private sector leaks by ex-officials.
While citing progress via new laws, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak conceded vital work remains to safeguard the UK from Beijing’s escalating interference against its democratic way of life. The remarks follow a parliamentary staffer’s recent arrest for alleged Chinese spying.
The government acknowledged some Chinese influence activities have crossed into unacceptable interference. Steps like enhanced China expertise funding signal efforts to compete long-term.
But the government admitted sharing lawmakers’ alarm over China’s “irresponsible” cyber capabilities endangering national security. It fell short on demands to ban meddlesome Confucius Institutes, agreeing only to restrict state funding.
The concessions imply years of complacency as China advanced its agenda. But fresh vows to invest heavily imply readiness to finally counter Beijing’s sophisticated, multi-pronged challenge.
With stakes sky-high, the scale of pledges underscores Britain’s recognition that the China threat can no longer be downplayed or deferred. After damning criticisms, the government knows the time has come to act.