UK parliamentary researcher and alleged accomplice granted bail in alleged espionage case linked to China

A former researcher working in Parliament and another man charged with spying for China were granted bail Friday after an initial court appearance in London. Christopher Cash, 29, and Christopher Berry, 32, were charged with violating the Official Secrets Act by providing information or documents that could be “useful to an enemy” — China — and “prejudicial to the safety or interests” of the U.K. between late 2021 and February 2023.The two, who didn’t enter a plea during their appearance at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, are accused of being in contact with each other and a person suspected of being a Chinese agent.Cash, a parliamentary researcher who worked with senior lawmakers from the governing Conservatives, was ordered not to enter Parliament or contact members of the House of Commons.Cash’s colleagues included Alicia Kearns, who now heads the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee, and her predecessor in that role, Tom Tugendhat, who is now security minister.Berry is reportedly an academic based in Oxfordshire who has taught in China since 2015.The defendants were also ordered not to to travel outside the U.K. or contact each other. They were ordered to appear May 10 at the Central Criminal Court known as the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing.The Chinese Embassy has called the allegations “completely fabricated” and “malicious slander,” and urged the U.K. to “stop anti-China political manipulation.”The pair were charged the same day that three people were arrested in Germany on suspicion of spying for China and arranging to transfer information on technology with potential military applications.Also on Monday, an assistant to a prominent German far-right lawmaker in the European Parliament was arrested on suspicion of spying for China.British intelligence authorities have ratcheted up their warnings about Beijing’s covert activities in recent years.