Questions over Chinese spy’s links to Metropolitan Police

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Pek-san Tan has a seat on the Metropolitan Police’s Anti-Hate Crime ESEA (East and Southeast Asian) Forum - Kirsty O'Connor
Pek-san Tan has a seat on the Metropolitan Police’s Anti-Hate Crime ESEA (East and Southeast Asian) Forum - Kirsty O'Connor

Questions have been raised over a Chinese spy’s links to the Metropolitan Police after it emerged a key associate sits on one of the force’s race advisory groups.

On Thursday, Christine Ching Kui Lee was outed by MI5 as an agent of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

She was said to be “grooming” prospective parliamentary candidates to increase Beijing’s influence in the UK through her campaign vehicle, the British Chinese Project.

MI5 has outed Christine Ching Kui Lee as an agent of the Chinese Communist Party - Nigel Howard Media
MI5 has outed Christine Ching Kui Lee as an agent of the Chinese Communist Party - Nigel Howard Media

The Telegraph can now reveal that Pek-san Tan, who describes herself as formerly a “project manager” at the British Chinese Project, has a seat on the Metropolitan Police’s Anti-Hate Crime ESEA (East and Southeast Asian) Forum.

The body was established at around the start of the pandemic to help police better understand and prevent racism against, principally, people of Chinese origin.

In an era of heightened awareness of racism and scrutiny of the policing of ethnic minority communities, such groups are increasingly important in guiding police practice.

However, two sources on the forum have alleged that Ms Tan has used her position to make accusations of racism against those who criticise the CCP and its repression of the Uyghurs.

They claim that by conflating the two issues, she is attempting to stifle legitimate criticism while hampering the fight against “actual” racism.

It is not the first time Ms Tan has found herself at the centre of controversy.

In August, The Telegraph revealed that she was the head of press for the London Chinatown Chinese Association, which publicly supports Beijing’s brutal National Security Law.

On Saturday, senior parliamentarians warned of fears of further “infiltration” into British public life by those with pro-CCP ideology.

It is not suggested that Ms Tan knew of Christine Lee’s spying.

However, she has previously worked closely with the now disgraced solicitor.

The pair helped co-author a key 2012-13 report called Chinese Community and Policing, by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on The Chinese in Britain.

In its foreword Barry Gardiner, the Labour MP whose private office accepted more than £425,000 from Ms Lee’s law firm, wrote that the “less visible” Chinese community were “in no less need of attention” than the black community.

Barry Gardiner's private office has accepted more than £425,000 from Ms Lee’s law firm
Barry Gardiner's private office has accepted more than £425,000 from Ms Lee’s law firm

The Telegraph has also seen a photograph of Ms Tan and Ms Lee taken with Ms Gardiner around the time of the London Olympics.

A spokesman for the Covid-19 Anti-Racism Group, under whose guise Ms Tan attended the police forum, said: “CARG sits on many forums to support the ESEA community.”

The spokesman denied any wrongdoing.

Nus Ghani, the only female MP to be sanctioned by Beijing after exposing firms exploiting from Uhghur slave labour, said: “Valid criticism of the CCP must not be confused or used as an excuse for anti-Chinese sentiment.

“But we must not close down legitimate criticism of a malevolent regime which is not only conducting crimes against humanity with the genocide of the Uyghur people but is also actively seeking to infiltrate our democracy.”

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, another Conservative to be sanctioned and co-chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said British public life was being “infiltrated with apologists for China”.

“It’s time to clean up,” he said.

“Successive British governments have been far too weak on this.

“China is guilty of gross human rights abuses and trashing the Sino-British agreement on Hong Kong.

“The idea that criticism of this can be conflated with racism is absolute rubbish.”

The question of the British Chinese Project’s association with the Metropolitan Police was further heightened by the emergence of a video showing an interview given to the Project in 2016 by a serving police sergeant, in which she discusses her role.

It is not known whether the specific interview was sanctioned by the force.

However, a spokesman said: “Officers are allowed to speak with media, external organisations and the public about their roles.”

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