220113153434 christine ching kui lee file super tease

UK authorities promoted agency at heart of alleged Chinese affect operations for years


On Thursday Britain’s home counter-intelligence service, MI5, issued an “interference warning” a few “potential threat” by Christine Ching Cui Lee, a lawyer with workplaces in China and the UK.

The alert acknowledged that Li labored “secretly” with the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party in UK politics by cultivating ties with lawmakers “across the political spectrum” and “donating on behalf of foreign nationals”. Interfered in British politics by giving “facilitation”.

Before going offline, Lee’s agency was marketed on a web site of the Department of International Trade as just lately as Friday.

CNN has contacted Lee for remark however has not acquired a response. On Friday, China’s international ministry denied that Li was a Chinese “agent” and stated Beijing “has no need and will not engage in so-called interference activities.”

“We urge the relevant British officials to refrain from making unsubstantiated comments or exaggerating the theory of ‘China threat’ for political purposes,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated.

A CNN evaluation of the UK Parliamentary Register, by which MPs document donations, reveals that Lee gave at the very least £461,000 ($639,000) to Barry Gardiner, an elected member of the opposition Labor Party, between 2014 and 2020, largely for his personal sake. by means of worker funding. His son additionally labored in his workplace and had a parliamentary move.

Lee additionally donated £5,000 ($6,800) in 2013 to Sir Ed Davey, chief of the Liberal Democrat Party.

It isn’t unlawful for Li to donate as a result of the UK doesn’t but have a Foreign Agent Registration Act just like the United States, neither is it unlawful for a British citizen or international nationwide working within the UK to be affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party . , Lee is listed within the UK Corporate Registry as a British citizen.

In an announcement to CNN, Gardiner stated he didn’t personally profit in any manner from Lee’s donation. The cash was correctly reported and its supply verified.

“I will continue to work closely with our security services in this and in all other matters relating to the security of our country,” Gardiner stated.

Davy advised CNN that his native union had accepted the donation, that it was correctly reported, and that “it was the first time he was given reason to be concerned.”

“The government should make it a national security priority to protect Britain’s democracy from threats and interference from foreign elements,” Dewey stated.

Advertisement of Lee’s providers on UK authorities portals

The London office of Christine Lee & Co.

The funds had been made by means of Lee’s eponymous legislation agency, Christine Lee & Company solicitors, which have been included within the listing of the “UK Advisory Network” since at the very least 2016 – a listing of enterprise providers now compiled by the Department for International Trade . To, because the listing says, “provide an accessible route for foreign investors to establish themselves in the UK”.

A preface to the listing says that it’s “facilitated by the invitation of the UK Government” and that “members undergo a rigorous vetting process to join.”

“The network provides a forum for the Government to respond to issues affecting the business environment and ultimately inform efforts to make the UK even more business friendly,” it says.

Lee’s providers can nonetheless be accessed by means of a authorities portal on Friday by means of the Department for International Trade, just lately modified to draw international funding to UK initiatives.

An commercial for Lee’s agency on the UK’s Great.gov web site supplied free first hour authorized recommendation, as did the opposite corporations listed.

A disclaimer on the location states that the division “does not endorse the character, goods, services or ability of the members of the directory” and that there is no such thing as a authorized relationship between the division and the listed service suppliers.

The International Trade Department stated in response to CNN that it needed to do a “reasonable amount of digging” on the matter and that great.gov.uk page was no longer liveHowever, the location was accessible on the net until the shut of buying and selling on Friday.

Luke de Pulford, of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition on China, stated: “This case shows a blatant failure of a government investigation, and extraordinary naivety on the part of the government when it comes to the purpose of these kinds of institutions and individuals.” Shows.” Which is insisting on making strict rules on China.

For someone who has published an alert about MI5 “promoting their providers on a authorities web site, that is actually exceptional and must be handled as quickly as attainable,” he said.

photographed with the prime ministers

Li, a former legal adviser to the Chinese Embassy in London, has been active in the political circles for 15 years.

He first founded the British Sugar Project in 2006 to encourage British citizens of Chinese descent to vote in the UK. Since 2011 she was involved in a now-defunct All Party parliamentary group called the Chinese in Britain.

She has been photographed with former Conservative prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May. The latter even presented him with an award two years earlier for his work with Britain’s Chinese community.

According to the UK’s Companies House Register, Lee has a network of property, legal, cultural and educational undertakings in his name.

A copy of a letter sent by the Lord’s Speaker in Britain’s upper house, the House of Lords and obtained by CNN, said that Lee “facilitated donations on behalf of international nationals based mostly in Hong Kong and China. for the masks. Origin of cost.”

“This is clearly unacceptable and steps are being taken to cease it.” reads the letter.

The Home Office last year launched a consultation on new legislation designed to devise safeguards against hostile state action. Parliamentary sources told CNN that the bill is expected to be introduced in the House of Commons early this year.

When CNN visited the London office of Lee’s law firm in the center of Soho, it appeared to have been closed for some time with windows thick with dust. It was empty with a notice in the window saying it had closed due to the pandemic. Emails and calls to the contact details given in the sign remained unanswered.

In an excerpt written for the UK’s Daily Mail in 2020, the firm said: “Christine Lee & Co. is pleased with its document of public service and the assist it has supplied to the democratic course of. We have by no means inappropriately influenced a politician.” or to obtain assistance of any kind in return for the assistance we have provided.”

Ian Duncan Smith, a former chief of the ruling Conservative Party and a fierce critic of China, raised the alarm about Lee in parliament on Thursday, saying MI5 had warned House Speaker Lindsay Hoyle that “an agent of the Chinese government” was actively Was. Working to “disrupt” the method of Parliament.

“It is a matter of serious concern,” he stated.

CNN’s Allegra Goodwin contributed to this report.



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