China spying efforts escalate to tapping up Britain’s former spies and diplomats
3rd January 2019

China’s spooks have intensified efforts to tap up Britain’s former spies and diplomats face to face.

Beijing is increasing cyber attacks and hacking but the latest move harks back to the Cold War days seen in film thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

The old-fashioned method of getting information is becoming more widespread and threatening, Britain’s intelligence chiefs have warned officials.

The Foreign Office said in a secret memo to former staff: “The Chinese service are becoming increasingly proactive and aggressive in approaching former members of Her Majesty’s Government including security and intelligence agencies.”

Typical targets would be former diplomats who are now working in other industries and have access to high value information such as technology breakthroughs.

A security source said: “Certain people who once held senior positions in security and intelligence are vulnerable to approaches by Chinese spooks…

“Traditional methods of coercion and persuasion are still on the table.”

It comes after China hacked into thousands of sensitive messages between EU diplomats.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said last week that due to its alleged links to Beijing’s intelligence bosses he had “grave concerns” about Chinese tech giant Huawei upgrading the UK mobile network.

The company denies having ties to the Chinese government.

China has shown interest in penetrating the safety systems guarding Britain’s military and security agencies.

Beijing has up to 100,000 cyber warriors targeting the West.

Our GCHQ listening station has around 6,000 staff trying to ward off the cyber threat from China, Russia, North Korea and others.

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