The security threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses to our way of life has not received enough attention by Britain’s parliaments or media, and thus, I am thankful for Alex Cole-Hamilton for bringing forward this important debate.
With the world’s eyes fixed on pathetic Putin and the crooked Kremlin after their illegal invasion of Ukraine, the suspicious activities of the Chinese Communist Party continue to avoid the headlines.
But failing to address these threats would be a catastrophic strategic mistake by our United Kingdom. We must wake up to the threat posed by President Xi’s government and start taking action to defend ourselves now, and equally as important, explain articulately and concisely why we must do so to the Scottish public.
There are many fields where the Chinese Communist Party are aiming to undermine British society but due to time constraints, I will focus on two areas: technology and higher education.
In spring 2021, Western Governments united to condemn Chinese Community Party backed cyber-attacks, designed to enable large-scale espionage, and identify individuals through data.
In Britain, some of these attacks were focused on government agencies and critical national infrastructure.
In the summer of 2020, the UK Government took the right step of banning Huawei from our 5G network, concluding that Huawei’s involvement was an unmanageable security risk. This ultimately was the right decision, but the UK Government took too long to come to this sensible conclusion.
Looking from the outside, it also appears that the UK Government took this decision to follow in the footsteps of the USA. Whilst it is important to work closely with our allies, we must be proactive in our response to security threats, as we have demonstrated we can be in Ukraine.
We cannot put ourselves in a position where we are dependent on the United States, or any other country or organisation.
Then there is TikTok, a popular app amongst young people which poses a potentially great security risk to individuals and our country.
With allegations that data collected by TikTok is shared with the Chinese Communist Party, we must urge everyone, with a full understanding that this could make us incredibly unpopular, to remove this app from their phone.
We must defend the freedom of our Higher Education institutions, especially universities who are becoming increasingly dependent on Chinese Communist Party funding.
We have seen reports of Chinese students in the UK being spied on by the Chinese Communist Party; espionage attempts, including efforts to steal sensitive information from British universities; and the opening of Confucius Institutes, Chinese Communist Party funded bodies to promote their propaganda.
Is this what we really want at our universities?
Responding to the threats of the Chinese Communist Party are mostly reserved matters, but there are some steps we can take in this Parliament.
The proper funding of Scottish universities is one of these steps, as well as establishing frameworks which safeguards Scottish institutions from foreign-government influences.
We all have a responsibility to take steps to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party, but the most important of these, in the short-term at least, is explaining to the Scottish public why we must do so.