During geopolitical and trade tension between China and the West, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seeks to build up its military capability in controversial ways.

On October 18, Britain issued an alert warning former military pilots to desist from taking jobs training Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers.

According to a BBC report, 30 former military pilots have trained Chinese army personnel. Investigations indicate that the pilots were recruited through a flight academy based in South Africa.

The Ministry of Defense said it would strengthen measures to ensure that state secrets are not shared with foreign countries. However, British law does not prohibit taking such jobs.

“We are taking decisive action to stop Chinese recruitment schemes that seek to recruit active pilots and ex-pilots from the UK armed forces to train People’s Liberation Army personnel in the People’s Republic of China,” a British MoD spokesman said.

This type of recruitment had already been detected in 2019 by the MoD, which began investigating on a case-by-case basis. However, the last few years have seen a significant increase.

For Armed Forces Minister James Heappey: “China is a competitor that threatens the interests of the United Kingdom in many parts of the world. And it is also an important trading partner.

“But it’s not surprising that they would try to access our secrets, and recruiting pilots to learn about our air force capabilities is clearly a concern for us.” 

And he added that the country “must change the law” to ensure that pilots do not pass information to China in the future.

The (British) Royal Air Force has a long history and is considered one of the most technologically advanced. Therefore, the pilots sought are those with experience in fast jets, such as Typhoons, Jaguars, Harriers, and Tornados.

However, those with experience in the most advanced military jet, the F-35, are not on the list. 

It is estimated that pilots are lured into taking such jobs with the promise of large sums of money. Packages for such services could be as high as $270,000. 

The British government has recently said it regards Russia as the biggest threat and the Chinese regime as the most severe long-term. 

According to Ian Duncan Smith, Conservative MP and former party leader, the tightening of national policy toward China was long overdue.

“It is time we stopped messing around and recognized that China poses a threat to how we live our lives, and it is time now to treat them the same way we treat Russia.” Smith said.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Fleming, director of the UK’s cyber intelligence agency, named Beijing the “national security issue that will define our future.”

“When it comes to technology, the politically motivated actions of the Chinese state are an increasingly urgent problem that we must recognize and address,” Fleming said.

In this regard, Ken McCallum, the new head of MI5, the British intelligence agency, also warned that the greatest danger to the UK is China.

On October 14, McCallum accused hostile states, such as China and Russia, of no longer focusing solely on traditional espionage activity, consisting of the theft of government secrets, but also targeting the British economy and infrastructure and seeking to undermine its democracy.

Tensions between the two countries are growing 

On October 18, the city of Manchester’s Chinese consulate experienced violent scenes when the consul was arrested in the act of aggression against a Hong Kong citizen protesting in front of the building.

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters were assaulted by Chinese consulate staff. One protester told the BBC, “They dragged me inside and beat me.”

He added: “It’s ridiculous. They [the attackers] shouldn’t have done that. We are supposed to have freedom of speech here [in the UK].”

A police officer entered the consulate compound and rescued the man who had been dragged inside.

The British government investigated the incident and said it finds it “extremely worrying.” 

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said his government should demand a full apology from the Chinese ambassador and send those involved back to China.

Recall that the CCP took control of Hong Kong in 1997 when the British government made succession conditional on respect for the island’s form of self-government, hence the phrase “One Country, Two Systems.” 

But the Chinese regime, in its drive for absolute control, implemented a series of new laws that adversely affected the island’s citizens, preventing them from electing their governors and changing their laws.

What was once known as “One Country, Two Systems” is now becoming one country, burdened by the repression of the Chinese regime. And this time, the repression seems to have reached the country that, ironically, introduced it to democracy.

The truth is that the CCP is acting more and more shamelessly, showing its contempt for the values represented by the West, causing the rejection of more countries worldwide. 

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