The heads of the FBI and MI5 have issued warnings that China’s industrial espionage, notably through special purpose acquisition businesses (SPAC), posed an increasing threat to western organizations.
The heads of the US and UK intelligence services, in various media reports, urged businesses to be far more cautious when dealing with China during a joint appearance in London.
Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, claimed Beijing was employing “elaborate shell games” to hide its espionage and even abusing SPACs.
Wray told corporate leaders at an event with his MI5 counterpart, Ken McCallum, that the “Chinese government poses an even more serious threat to western businesses than even many sophisticated business people realize”.
The two agencies’ intelligence heads were hosting their first-ever joint public event, which, according to Wray, highlighted the urgency of confronting Beijing’s growing espionage threat.
Since 2018, McCallum cited that MI5 had seen a sevenfold increase in China-related investigations with another effort to double capacity again over the next “handful of years”.
Wray claimed that on average every 12 hours, FBI field offices in the US initiated a new investigation into Chinese espionage.
In response, Zhao Lijian, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, called the allegations against China “completely far-fetched”.
“This is a typical example of a thief crying “stop thief”. We deplore this type of despicable and deceptive gambit,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said in a separate news conference.
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