Jul 7, 2022 - World

China denies espionage accusations from U.S., U.K.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian attends a news conference in December 2021. Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The Chinese government on Thursday responded to accusations of espionage levied against it by the heads of U.S. and U.K.'s security agencies, saying they lack "factual basis" and are "completely far-fetched."

Driving the news: A day earlier, FBI director Christopher Wray and MI5 director-general Ken McCallum gave a joint press briefing to warn that the Chinese government was conducting spying campaigns aimed at stealing intellectual property from Western tech companies.

  • "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," Wray said at the briefing.
  • McCallum added that Chinese officials are operating a "coordinated campaign on a grand scale ... a strategic contest across decades."

What they're saying: "The U.S. politician has been playing up the so-called 'China threat' to smear and attack China. His remarks fully expose his entrenched Cold War zero-sum mentality and ideological prejudice," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing when asked about Wray's comments.

  • "The US is the biggest threat to world peace and development. We urge the U.S. intelligence officer to put things into perspective, see China's development in an objective and reasonable light, stop spreading lies, and stop making irresponsible remarks," he added.
  • Zhao added that MI5 and MI6 "are both experts on planting spies."
  • The U.K. agencies "are trying to project their own disgraceful acts onto China through these false, sensational reports to play up the so-called 'China threat' and stoke antagonism and confrontation."

What to watch: Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, this week.

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