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Suspected of spying for China, the assistant of an MEP is arrested in Germany

Suspected of spying for China, the assistant of an MEP is arrested in Germany

An aide to a member of the European Parliament of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of high-profile espionage for China.

Prosecutors, in a statement released Tuesday, said Jian G. is accused of passing information about discussions in the EU's legislative body to Chinese intelligence.

The website of MP Maximilian Krah, the AfD's main candidate in the June European Parliament elections, lists Jian Guo as one of his aides. Deputy Krah said he learned about his arrest from the media and would stop working with him if the allegations were proven.

Anxiety over suspected Chinese espionage has grown across Western Europe in recent months.

Three German nationals were arrested on Monday on suspicion of espionage related to technology used for military purposes.

On the same day, two people were charged in Britain with spying for China, including one who had worked for a prominent lawmaker in the ruling Conservative Party.

On March 25, the United States and Britain accused Beijing of cyber espionage against millions of people, including lawmakers, academics and journalists, as well as companies including those involved in the defense industry.

The adviser, who lived in Brussels and the German city of Dresden, also spied on Chinese opposition figures in Germany, prosecutors said. He was arrested in Dresden on Monday and his residence was raided.

"He is accused of a particularly serious case of having worked for a foreign secret service," the statement said.

Two weeks ago, the Czech newspaper 'Denik Na' and the German magazine 'Der Spiegel' reported that another AfD candidate for the European Parliament elections, German lawmaker Petr Bystron, had received money from a pro-Russian media site. The AfD said Mr Bystron denied the charge.

Konstantin von Notz, who chairs the parliamentary committee that oversees Germany's intelligence services, said these were not individual cases, but said there is a wider problem within the AfD party.

"AfD is a party of dictatorships," he said. "They make no attempt to hide their contempt for our democracy and the rule of law. This makes their politicians easily influenced by China and Russia."

An AfD spokesman said Monday's arrest was "very disturbing" and vowed the party would support the investigation.


German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said that if the allegations were confirmed, it would be treated as "an attack on European democracy from within", noting that German security services had stepped up counter-espionage efforts due to hybrid Russian threats and wiretapping. chinese.

A year ago, AfD MP Krah dismissed accusations that his adviser was lobbying for China as defamation against him.

"It is about an employee born in China," he wrote on social media platform X. "He is a German citizen, member of the AfD, studied in Dresden and speaks fluent German and English. A lot of lies are being spread.”

The Chinese embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a news conference that reports of Chinese espionage in Europe were exaggerated and were made with the "purpose of discrediting and oppressing China."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited China last week to improve economic relations with Germany's largest trading partner and to discuss China's support for Russia./VOA

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