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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

In the past week, intelligence agencies in the Netherlands, Finland and Canada expressed deep concern about China's espionage and political influence in democracies.

Why it matters: Three years ago, the U.S. was something of a global outlier in its strident warnings against China. Now democratic countries around the world are echoing the same fears.

The Netherlands: Last week, the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) released a report on threats to Dutch national security interests. The report was blunt in its criticism of China, stating that Beijing's cyber espionage poses an "imminent threat" to the Dutch economy, in sectors including banking, energy and infrastructure.

  • "Behind the scenes, China is rising on the agenda of the Dutch intelligence services. Spearheaded by the AIVD and NCTV, the focus is on economic espionage and political influence," Ties Dams, a research fellow at the Clingendael China Centre at the Clingendael Institute, told Axios.
  • "With the upcoming elections in March, this is the intelligence community signaling that China has to be prioritized," said Dams.

Finland: Antti Pelttari, director of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service, said last week that “authoritarian countries are trying to get hold of Finland’s critical infrastructure," referring to China and Russia.

  • Pelttari also said he believes Huawei should not be permitted to build Finland's 5G networks.

Canada: David Vigneault, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said last week that China is "pursuing a strategy for geopolitical advantage on all fronts — economic, technological, political, and military — and using all elements of state power to carry out activities that are a direct threat to our national security and sovereignty."

  • “These activities ... cross the line by attempting to undermine our democratic processes or threaten our citizens in a covert and clandestine manner," Vigneault said.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
26 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.

Police officers' immunity from lawsuits is getting a fresh look

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, advocates of changes in police practices are launching new moves to limit or eliminate legal liability protections for officers accused of excessive force.

Why it matters: Revising or eliminating qualified immunity — the shield police officers have now — could force officers accused of excessive force to personally face civil penalties in addition to their departments. But such a change could intensify a nationwide police officer shortage, critics say.