Mareike Ohlberg, co-author of a book on the inner-workings of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), claimed China is capable of exerting influence over senior UK officials more successfully than any other European nation. The claims were made in a book titled “Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party Is Reshaping the World”.
Ms Ohlberg, senior fellow in the Asia Program at the policy think-tank the German Marshall Fund, said attempts to groom leading UK figures in business and politics were at an advanced stage.
She said at a Henry Jackson think tank event: “There has been a tremendous amount of work in getting elites over to the CCP side.
“To me, the UK has always stood out for the very advanced stage of elite capture compared to other European countries.”
Her bombshell book claimed a crack squad of operatives had been tasked with conducting the groundwork on officials.
These operatives have reportedly met with a number of world leaders including former UK Prime Ministers.
Ms Ohlberg claimed one of the ways China has attempted to influence the UK was by offering jobs in Chinese firms to former Government workers.
The academic warned the influence of China could increase in a post-Brexit Britain.
MS Ohlberg said: “Until last year, it was incredibly rare to hear anyone in the establishment challenge the golden era consensus that if post-Brexit Britain is to succeed it absolutely needs China.”
Matthew Henderson, from the Henry Jackson Society and a former British diplomat in Beijing, said: “China had locked on to the way the British establishment works.
“China is basically replicating that. It has found vanities, it has found greed, it has found a sense of cosiness, people who like wearing funny robes and hats and free trips to China.”
The claims come at a time when the UK is ceasing to cut international ties with China.
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Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying warned the ban “will only hurt the UK’s own interests”.
She added: “This is a big world and the UK is just a small part of it.
“Without any evidence the UK under the pretext of risks which don’t exist at all cooperated with the US to discriminate, oppress and exclude Chinese companies in violation of the principle of market economy and free trade. This breaches the UK’s promises.”