A MAN reported to be a UK parliamentary researcher who was arrested on suspicion of spying for Beijing on Monday (11) said he was “completely innocent” and not a “Chinese spy”.
The man, whose identity has not been released by UK authorities but is said to be in his 20s, denied any involvement in espionage, in a statement released by his lawyers.
UK prime minister Rishi Sunak raised his “very strong concerns” about possible Chinese “interference” in democracy with premier Li Qiang on the sidelines of the G20 in India last Sunday (10).
Lindsay Hoyle, the speaker of the UK’s lower chamber of parliament the House of Commons, was due to make a statement on the issue at 1330 GMT.
“I feel forced to respond to the media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy’,” the suspect said in the statement.
“It is wrong that I should be obliged to make any form of public comment on the misreporting that has taken place.
“However, given what has been reported, it is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent. I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party. To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.”
UK police said over the weekend that they had arrested a man in his 20s at his home in Edinburgh for spying, with the Sunday Times reporting he was a researcher in Britain’s parliament. China responded by calling the claims a “political farce”. Another man in his 30s had also been arrested, police said. Both arrests took place in March on suspicion of offences under the Official Secrets Act.