China Opens String of Spy Schools

Since 2008, the Chinese government has opened a string of National Intelligence Colleges on campuses around the country in an effort to improve the skills of the nation’s spies. The Telegraph reports:

The move comes amid growing worries in the West at the scale and breadth of Chinese intelligence-gathering, with MI5 saying that the Chinese government “represents one of the most significant espionage threats to the UK”.

In February, China allegedly managed to penetrate the Foreign Office’s internal communications network.

Until now, however, the bulk of Chinese foreign espionage is thought to have been conducted primarily by academics and students who are sent to the host countries only for a short period of time.

The new schools aim to transform and modernise the Chinese intelligence services, producing spies who are trained in the latest methods of data collection and analysis. Each school will recruit around 30 to 50 carefully-selected existing undergraduates each year.

The Telegraph has a separate report on the cyberwar currently being waged between China and Britain, on the eve of Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron:

Jonathan Evans, the director general of MI5, has singled out China for their “unreconstructed attempts” to spy on Britain saying they “continue to devote considerable time and energy trying to steal our sensitive technology on civilian and military projects and trying to obtain political and economic intelligence at our expense.”

MI5 believes that the Chinese government “represents one of the most significant espionage threats to the UK.”

A 14-page “restricted” report from MI5′s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) last year, described how China has attacked British defence, energy, communications and manufacturing companies in a concerted hacking campaign.

One of the main focuses of Britain’s Office of Cyber Security and the Cyber Security Operations Centre based at GCHQ is the constant attempts to break into government departments and private sector companies by Chinese hackers.