China on Friday dismissed a rare public warning by British security services that a suspected Chinese agent was trying to influence lawmakers, saying it was the result of watching “too many 007 movies”.
British authorities said on Thursday that a London-based solicitor “knowingly engaged in political interference activities” inside parliament, citing Britain’s counter-intelligence and domestic spy agency MI5.
Christine Lee had reportedly worked on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party to gain influence through donations, the office of House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said.
China’s foreign ministry denied engaging in “interference activities”, blasting the accusations as “alarmist remarks based on some individuals’ subjective assumptions”.
“Perhaps some individuals have watched too many 007 movies, leading to unnecessary mental associations,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference, referring to the James Bond book and movie franchise.
MI5’s security notice said Lee was acting “on behalf of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party” and answered to figures in China and Hong Kong.
‘Patriotism’: HK police switch to goose-stepping
Hong Kong’s police force will switch from colonial-era British marching drills to the goose-stepping style seen on the Chinese mainland, the city’s force said on Friday, citing the need to show officers’ “patriotism”.
The stiff-legged marching technique was first publicly demonstrated by Hong Kong officers on April 15 during National Security Education Day – designated to mark a Beijing-imposed law that has empowered a crackdown on dissent.
The force has “actively planned for the full roll-out of Chinese-style foot drills in order to show patriotism and foster love for our motherland and Hong Kong”, police said.
Staff from China’s People’s Liberation Army barracks in Hong Kong have been teaching the city’s police officers the technique since February 2021.
Taiwan adds mine-laying to defences against China
Taiwan on Friday commissioned new navy minelayers to add to its defences against China.
President Tsai Ing-wen presided over a commissioning ceremony for the navy’s First and Second Mining Operations Squadrons, which will operate ships able to automatically sow large numbers of small but powerful mines at high speed without the need for divers.
Such technologies are part of a strategy to deter any possible invasion from China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory