Employee of German lawmaker arrested on suspicion of spying for China in European Parliament

A man who works for a German far-right lawmaker in the European Parliament has been arrested on suspicion of spying, authorities said Tuesday. The detention came less than 24 hours after three people were arrested for spying for China in a separate German case. The suspect was arrested Monday in the city of Dresden, federal prosecutors said in a statement. They said that he has worked for a German lawmaker in the European Union’s legislature since 2019. The German national is accused of working for a Chinese intelligence service and of repeatedly passing on information on negotiations and decisions in the European Parliament in January. Prosecutors allege that he also snooped on Chinese dissidents in Germany. Prosecutors didn’t identify the lawmaker for whom he works, but Maximilian Krah of the far-right Alternative for Germany, who is his party’s top candidate in the European Parliament election in early June, said in a statement that he found out about the arrest of employee Jian Guo from the press on Tuesday. “I do not have further information,” Krah said. He added that “spying activity for a foreign state is a serious allegation” which, if proven, would lead to the employee’s immediate dismissal. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the spying allegations were “extremely serious.” “If it is confirmed that there was spying for Chinese intelligence from inside the European Parliament, then that is an attack from inside on European democracy,” Faeser said in a statement. “Anyone who employs such a staff member also carries responsibility,” she added. “This case must be cleared up precisely. … All the connections and background must be illuminated.” News of the arrest came a day after three Germans suspected of spying for China and arranging to transfer information on technology with potential military uses were arrested in a separate case. Also on Monday, British prosecutors said a former researcher working Parliament and another man were charged with spying for China. Asked in Beijing about the latest arrest in Germany, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that “the recent reports in Europe about Chinese spying are all hyping up with an aim to smear and suppress China.” Beijing urges “the relevant parties to stop spreading disinformation about China’s spy threat and stop political manipulation and malicious smears against China,” he added. A week ago, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met China’s top leaders in Beijing at the end of a three-day trip to the country. In a strategy for relations with China released last year, the German government pointed to a “systemic rivalry” with the Asian power and a need to reduce risks of economic dependency, but highlighted its desire to work with Beijing on challenges such as climate change and to maintain strong trade ties. That document pledged “decisive action” to counter Chinese espionage activities.