China is a huge threat to ALL of us: GCHQ boss warns superpower is planning ‘global technological dominance’ with state-of-the-art satellite system – while building its own digital currency to insulate itself from sanctions if it decides to invade Taiwan
- The head of GCHQ warned China’s tech plans pose a ‘huge threat to us all’
- Sir Jeremy Fleming fears China is using key tech to spread its influence globally
- In a speech today he suggested China were building a satellite to track people
Britain faces a ‘sliding doors moment in history’ with China, whose plans for global technological dominance pose a ‘huge threat to us all’, the head of GCHQ warns today.
Sir Jeremy Fleming fears the hostile state is using key technologies to spread its influence around the world – even using surveillance from space.
In a speech today, the intelligence chief raises the prospect that China is building a satellite system capable of tracking individuals around the world.
Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China still poses the greater long-term threat to global security, according to Sir Jeremy.
He believes the Chinese Communist Party is learning lessons from Russia’s ‘staggering’ losses in Ukraine, and is seeking to build a centralised digital currency to insulate itself from international sanctions if China invades Taiwan.
Sir Jeremy Fleming fears China is using key technologies to spread its influence around the world – even using surveillance from space
In the RUSI Annual Security Lecture, Sir Jeremy will set out how China is exporting technologies around the world to spy on other countries, gain influence and sway votes and policies in its favour.
He believes China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system, which works similarly to GPS, is being developed as both a means to track people and as a secret weapon to incapacitate satellites used by rival Western nations.
BeiDou, which provides navigation to aircraft, submarines, missiles and commercial services, has already been built into Chinese exports to more than 120 countries worldwide.
He will say: ‘Many believe that China is building a powerful anti-satellite capability, with a doctrine of denying other nations access to space in the event of a conflict. And there are fears the technology could be used to track individuals.’
In a speech today, the intelligence chief raises the prospect that China is building a satellite system capable of tracking individuals around the world
China’s ‘great strength combined with fear is driving [it] into actions that could represent a huge threat to us all’, he will say.
Referring to a pivotal point in world events, he adds: ‘At GCHQ it is our privilege and duty to see the sliding door moments of history. This feels like one of those moments. Our future strategic technology advantage rests on what we as a community do next.’
He fears China is seeking to create ‘client economies and governments’ by selling technology cheaply to other countries in order to leverage influence.
In the UK, the Government has already ordered telecoms equipment from Chinese tech giant Huawei to be stripped out of the UK’s 5G network due to national security concerns, but it won’t happen until 2027.
Today Sir Jeremy will warn other countries they are ‘mortgaging their future’ if they buy Chinese tech with ‘hidden costs’.
While the UK and its allies seek science and tech advancement to enable prosperity, the Communist Party wields it as a ‘tool to gain advantage through control of their markets, of those in their sphere of influence and of their own citizens.
In the UK, the Government has already ordered telecoms equipment from Chinese tech giant Huawei to be stripped out of the UK’s 5G network due to national security concerns, but it won’t happen until 2027
They see opportunities to control the Chinese people rather than looking for ways to support and unleash their citizens’ potential… But underlying that belief is a sense of fear.
‘Fear of its own citizens, of freedom of speech, free trade, open technological standards and alliances – the whole open, democratic order and the international rules-based system.’
Sir Jeremy will also deliver an excoriating verdict on Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, saying: ‘Far from the inevitable Russian military victory that their propaganda machine spouted, it’s clear that Ukraine’s courageous action on the battlefield and in cyberspace is turning the tide.
They [Russia] are feeling the extent of the dreadful human cost of his war of choice.’