China has been attempting to gain influence in the Czech Republic to access trade and diplomatic secrets, according to the Czech counter-intelligence service.
During a TV debate, counter-intelligence service spokesman Ladislav Šticha stated that in the Czech Republic, Chinese intelligence services are primarily interested in industrial information.
“They try to contact researchers, people from universities and Czech politicians,” said Šticha. “It is very dangerous when these people are invited to visit the People’s Republic of China as the whole program is paid for by the Chinese. Once there, the invitees will then receive an offer for cooperation. We try to warn not only the scientific community but also universities and politicians against potential risks of such cooperation.”
In October, the threat posed by the Chinese intelligence services was also a topic of a seminar in the Czech Chamber of Deputies. At the seminar, the head of the BIS counter-intelligence service, Michal Koudelka, also warned that the Chinese invite scientists and politicians to their country to influence them and obtain information.
In particular, the BIS counter-intelligence service urges members of the armed forces and the police to avoid accepting invitations to visit China.
In its previous annual public reports, BIS has repeatedly warned against the intelligence activities of China and Russia in the Czech Republic. The secret BIS annual report for 2018 was discussed at the end of October by the Chamber of Deputies’ Permanent Commission on Oversight.
The Chairman of the Commission Pavel Bělobrádek later confirmed that the Czech counter-intelligence service is successful in detecting threats posed by foreign intelligence services but additional safeguards must be taken.