On October 11, the director of Government Communications Headquarters in Great Britain, Jeremy Fleming, made strong statements against the Chinese regime during a speech at the Royal United Institute in London.
Fleming accused China of attempting to “rewrite the rules of international security” by using both its economic and technological clout to clamp down on its territory and extend its control abroad. He said that the Chinese Communist Party’s fear-driven aggressive posture poses “a huge threat to us all.”
In his view, it is not the Russia-Ukraine war, but the CCP’s rising power that needs to be seen as a national security issue that will define the future.
Fleming said, “In terms of technology, the politically motivated actions of the Chinese state are an increasingly urgent problem that we need to recognize and address. This is because it is changing the definition of national security into a much broader concept. Technology has become not only an area of opportunity, competition, and collaboration, but a battleground for control, values, and influence.”
He also remarked on the aggressive nature of the regime and the quest to control its citizens.
He said that in his view the CCP doesn’t look to support its people and help them realize their full potential. They only see nations as competitors, enemies, or “client states,” to threaten, bribe, or coerce.
In the speech, he noted that the CCP is trying to divide the internet infrastructure to gain greater control. By implementing digital currencies managed from the central bank it could exercise greater control over its users, spying on their transactions. At the same time this would allow the CCP to escape possible sanctions, such as those implemented against Russia in the war with Ukraine.
The CCP is expanding its Beidou location and navigation satellite system, the Chinese version of the American GPS. Fleming warns that this system could contain a “powerful anti-satellite capability” and the ability to deny access to space in the event of conflict with other nations.
The CCP’s technology theft has been widely denounced by countries such as the United States and Great Britain, and many cases have been discovered and spies imprisoned. The Chinese regime itself is proud, behind closed doors, of the success of these industrial espionage activities. As in the case of the theft of information from the Boeing company about the C-17 aircraft, which led to the Chinese version of its first military transport plane, the Y-20.
Fleming stressed protecting intellectual property and advised developing countries not to “mortgage their future” by buying Chinese technology.
The dependence of the technology market on semiconductors, where Taiwan plays a leading role as the main producer of this material, highlights the weakness in this field of the Western powers. In the event of an open conflict between the Chinese regime and Taiwan, this sector would be directly affected.
Fleming said, “Developments in the Taiwan Strait, any risk to that vital supply chain, have the potential to directly affect UK resilience and future global growth.”
Warning against Chinese technological infiltration
This is not the first time British intelligence has warned of the dangers of Chinese infiltration.
The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is part of the British intelligence agency network, along with M15 and M16.
In 2021, Richard Moore, former spy and head of the M16, in an interview with the BBC stated, “The way China is going about its work in AI (Artificial Intelligence) development, in particular, it is linking up to collect data from around the world.”
He said that the CCP is trying to use its economic policies, to hook people and nations like data traps and debt traps.
“If you allow another country to get access to critical data about your country, over time that will erode your sovereignty. … You no longer have control of that data.”
Both the U.S. and the UK have long since begun implementing measures to counter the Chinese regime’s tech offensive.
In 2020, following the path set by the Trump administration, the British government announced a total ban on 5G equipment from Chinese tech giant Huawei and the elimination of existing equipment by 2027, alluding that the material provided by this company is of high risk to national security.
In the conflict with Taiwan, the CCP showed more openly how it uses digital tools to achieve its ends.
In August, while the media was focused on the Chinese military maneuvers around Taiwan, another attack was taking place at the same time.
Social media was overrun with fake stories such as the one claiming that China was evacuating its citizens from Taiwan or which missiles were targeting the airport.
Digital billboards in 7-Eleven stores were hacked and displayed messages such as “Pelosi warmonger, get out of Taiwan.” Train station information boards read “old hag.” And a government website was blocked for 20 minutes.
Kitsch Yen-Fan, deputy director of the Global China Hub said, “We are already at war.” He added, “This is an ongoing thing.”
Yen-Fan said, “Fake news on social media is a way to pave the way for their eventual operation.” They want to basically influence public opinion, demoralize the public, [to] facilitate its eventual takeover.”
Wang Ting-Yu, a member of the Taiwanese parliament, stated that Taiwanese intelligence data shows that the island suffers approximately 20 million cyberattacks every day. According to Wang, China is the source of the vast majority.