Europe

Suddenly, Chinese Spies Seem to Be Popping Up All Over Europe

One of the men, a young Briton known for his hawkish views on China, worked as an aide to a prominent member of the British Parliament. Another, a German citizen of Chinese descent, was an assistant to a member of the European Parliament representing Germany’s far right.

While from different countries and seemingly divergent backgrounds and outlooks, both men became ensnared this week in accusations of espionage on behalf of China — and a widening pushback in Europe against malign Chinese influence in politics and commerce.

In all, six people in three separate cases have been charged this week in Europe with spying for China: two in Britain and four in Germany.

On Friday, as the two Britons made an initial court appearance in London, the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, met in Beijing with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, in the latest effort by the two rivals to keep communications open even as disputes escalate over trade, national security and geopolitical frictions.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken with President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing on Friday.Credit…Pool photo by Mark Schiefelbein

The espionage cases in Britain and Germany, the first of their kind in two countries that once cultivated warm relations with Beijing, served as eye-catching exclamation points in Europe’s long, often anguished breakup with China.

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