UK says China spying activities cross line 'from influence into interference'

The British government says China has tried to recruit British individuals in key government and military positions as part of its espionage activities. It says some Chinese action "crosses the line from influence into interference."

The British government responded on Thursday to a parliamentary report on China. It said, "Chinese recruitment schemes have tried to headhunt British and allied nationals in key positions and with sensitive knowledge and experience, including from government, military, industry and wider society."

The government said it recognizes further investment will be needed to better address the challenge that China poses. This would include more funding for Mandarin language training.

In March, two people, including a parliamentary researcher, were arrested in Britain on suspicion of spying for China.

It also emerged earlier this month that Britain's security authorities had warned the governing Conservative Party that two potential lawmaker candidates could be Chinese spies.

The British government is trying to engage with China to improve the country's human rights situation. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit this month.

But some people in Britain think the government should be more cautious in dealing with Beijing.