No Cold War condemns MI5 witch hunt against Britain’s Chinese heritage community



The recent MI5 warning about Christine Lee “interfering” in British parliamentary politics on behalf of China, given widespread coverage in the British media, in reality represents an escalation of the witch-hunt against members of the Chinese diaspora in the UK and an attempt to intimidate those seeking to promote good relations between Britain and China. 

No evidence has been presented to support the claim that Ms Lee has engaged in illegal activity, no charges have been brought, nor has evidence been presented that she engaged in activity any different than those who attempt to promote good relations between Britain and countries other than China. The facts show that she is being targeted simply for aiming to improve relations between the UK and China. The singling out of Ms Lee is racist and discriminatory, introducing a different standard for people of Chinese heritage compared to those with other backgrounds.

Would a security alert be raised if Ms Lee worked for a pro-US organisation and was promoting positive US-UK relations? Or if she worked for a pro-French organisation and was promoting positive France-UK relations? Or if she worked for a pro-Israeli organisation and was promoting positive Israel-UK relations? The very idea is absurd. Numerous individuals and organisations of different heritages attempt to promote good relations between Britain and other countries. There is no suggestion that Ms Lee was engaged in spying or any similar activity – indeed any such charge is absurd as her efforts to promote good relations between China and Britain was publicly known and officially recognised, as evidenced by her meetings with well-known British political figures. This is exactly the opposite of the activity that would be undertaken by a spy or person engaged in espionage.

The true aim of this “security alert” has two components. First, to try to establish a double standard which deems it okay to promote good relations between Britain and some countries (e.g., the US, France, Israel) but impermissible to promote good relations between Britain and other countries such as China. Second, to whip up apprehension, discriminatory attitudes, and racism against the “yellow peril” of China.

The esteemed US historian Gerald Horne rightly wrote that the Red Scare of the 1950s was the “handmaiden of the Cold War.” Today, this reds-under-the-beds narrative has been updated to target the Chinese community in Britain, the US, Australia, and elsewhere. This fear-mongering is used to justify the West’s New Cold War against China and repress those who oppose this reckless, hostile policy. This is a very dangerous and undemocratic road to travel.