FBI Director Christopher Wray and MI5 Director Ken McCallum held a first-ever joint press conference to address the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The meeting took place on July 6 at MI5 headquarters in London.
“We’re doing so to send the clearest signal we can on a massive shared challenge: China,” said McCallum. “The most game-changing challenge we face comes from the [CCP]. It’s covertly applying pressure across the globe. This might feel abstract but it’s real and it’s pressing. We need to talk about it. We need to act.”
McCallum told the audience of business leaders and academic chiefs that MI5 more than doubled its “previously-constrained” counterintelligence efforts. He said that the domestic security agency is running seven times as many investigations as it did in 2018.
The warnings centered on “clandestine, coercive or corrupt methods to ‘deceptive’ plots to buy and exert influence as well as using ‘sophisticated interference efforts,’” according to The Intercept.
China has long been the focus of investigation by UK authorities. In February 2021, it was reported that hundreds of British academics were placed under investigation on suspicion of aiding Chinese weapons programs. Later that year, a UK-based tribunal investigated China for human rights abuses concerning the nation’s policies toward Uyghur Muslims. The tribunal concluded China committed genocide against Uyghurs.
Wray issued a pointed warning to the business sector, stating that the CCP is set on stealing their technology and using it to undercut their business and dominate their market.
“We consistently see that it’s the Chinese government that poses the biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security,” he said.
Wray also warned that if China tried to forcibly take over Taiwan it would result in one of the most horrific business disruptions in world history.
McCallum said the goal was not to completely cut off from China, adding, “We want a UK which is both connected and resilient.” He made clear that the agencies were addressing the CCP and not the Chinese people themselves, who he referred to as “wholeheartedly welcome.”