“Tensions High: UK Government Forced to Take Firmer Stance Against China Over Spying Allegations
The United Kingdom government is facing increasing pressure to take a tougher stance towards China amidst accusations of spying and allegations of human rights abuses. In particular, concerns have been raised about how China is using its role in the 5G network to spy on citizens in the UK. UK lawmakers have argued that the government has been too lax in its approach to handling allegations of Chinese espionage. Already, the United Kingdom's intelligence agency MI5 is reported to be stepping up its monitoring of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, as the company gears up to participate in Britain's 5G network. Amidst this increased scrutiny, the British government recently imposed an export ban on Huawei as “high risk” technology, and has asked British tech firms to avoid using the company's products. However, members of the opposition have argued the government needs to take additional steps to protect the security of the UK's national infrastructure and data. To this end, the UK government is now being urged to levy tougher economic sanctions against China, and to review its decision to allow Huawei limited access to the country's 5G network. Other suggestions have included strengthening protections for British citizens, banning entities linked to the Chinese government from operating in the UK, and increasing cybersecurity measures. These calls for tougher measures come at a time when the UK is also embroiled in a trade dispute with the US. With tensions between the two countries mounting, any move by the UK government to make a stand against China could send a powerful signal that the country is taking its security seriously.