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The UK has accused China of targeting democratic institutions through malicious cyber activities

The British government has publicly accused state-affiliated hackers from China of engaging in malicious cyber activities targeting important UK institutions and individuals involved in democratic processes.

In a statement to parliament on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden emphasized the UK’s intolerance towards attacks on democratic institutions and announced sanctions against two individuals and a front company associated with a hacking campaign directed at British parliamentarians.

This announcement comes amid Britain’s characterization of China as posing a significant challenge to the desired international order in terms of both security and values, as outlined in its recent integrated review of foreign, defence, and security policies.

David Cameron, the foreign secretary, condemned the targeting as “utterly unacceptable” and confirmed that he had addressed the matter with China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to safeguarding our values and democratic principles against any threats. It is crucial to highlight these threats publicly so that other nations understand the challenges our systems and democratic institutions confront,” Cameron emphasized.

The newly imposed sanctions, which include asset freezes and travel bans, are intended to convey a clear message that the UK will not tolerate malicious cyber activities against democratic institutions and elected representatives, according to the Foreign Office.

Allies, including those from the Five Eyes alliance, the Indo-Pacific region, and Europe, are expected to issue statements on Monday expressing solidarity with the UK Parliament.

“This statement today once again calls on the Chinese government to demonstrate its credibility as a responsible cyber actor,” declared the Foreign Office.

The announcement coincides with the National Cyber Security Centre’s assessment that a hacking group previously linked to the Chinese Ministry of State Security, identified as APT31, has been conducting online reconnaissance activities against individuals in the House of Commons and House of Lords who have publicly criticized Beijing.

Luke Simmonds

Blogger at

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