Two UK Men Charged With Spying for China

Prosecutors in the UK announced last Monday that it brought charges against two men, including a former parliamentary researcher, who had been arrested last year on suspicion of spying on behalf of the People’s Republic of China.

Christopher Cash and Christopher Berry were both charged with providing “prejudicial information” to China and appeared on Friday at the Westminster Magistrates Court.

Officials with the Metropolitan Police allege that the men collected and transmitted information that was “prejudicial to the safety or interests” of Great Britain from late 2021 until February 2023 in violation of the UK’s Official Secrets Act.

Dominic Murphy, the head of the Met’s counterterrorism command, described the allegations as “very serious” and said the arrests followed “an extremely complex investigation.”

While prosecutors released few details about the two suspects, at the time of their arrest in March 2023, it was revealed that Christopher Berry was an academic from Oxfordshire and Christopher Cash previously served as a researcher who worked with senior conservative MPs and had a pass that allowed him full access to Westminster.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle of the House of Commons confirmed last Monday that one of the suspects charged had been a parliamentary pass holder during the time the alleged spying took place.

In a statement from his attorney at the time of his arrest, Christopher Cash denied the allegations.

While attending the G-20 summit in India last September, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressed the issue with China’s Premier Li Qiang, vowing his “strong concerns” over Beijing’s “unacceptable” interference in the UK’s democracy.

The Chinese Embassy in London described the allegations of interference as “malicious slander” and “fabricated.” It urged the British government to put an end to its “anti-China political manipulation.”

In January 2022, MI5 issued an alert accusing a London-based attorney of “covertly” interfering with British politics on behalf of China. According to MI5, attorney Christine Lee was allegedly conspiring with China’s United Front Work Department, one of Beijing’s foreign influence operations.