Chinese fixer targets five UK Prime Ministers

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New evidence of Beijing’s infiltration of British Establishment as it emerges leading figure ‘tasked with grooming foreign elites’ met politicians including Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Tony Blair

A leading figure in a Chinese group allegedly created to groom foreign elites has been pictured with five British prime ministers.

Photographs uncovered by the Daily Mail show how Zhirong Hu has moved among the British Establishment.

He has met Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

Mr Hu is a director of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, which is reportedly controlled by the country’s Communist Party.

Academics say its mission is to groom ‘business, political and media leaders in countries around the world’.

The claims are backed by a new book, Hidden Hand, whose serialisation continues in the Mail today.

Photographs uncovered by the Daily Mail show how Zhirong Hu has moved among the British Establishment, including current Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Zhirong Hu has met five British Prime Ministers including previous Prime Minister Theresa May (both pictured left) and Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown  (pictured right together)

Mr Hu is a director of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, which is reportedly controlled by the country’s Communist Party. Here he is pictured with Tony Blair in China in 2008 – a year after Tony Blair stepped down as Prime Minister

It alleges that China is recruiting ‘useful idiots’ to push the country’s agenda in the West.

Mr Hu, who sits in China’s upper parliamentary house, has also been pictured giving a thumbs-up while posing shoulder to shoulder with Donald Trump in 2018.

Eight years earlier he was seen shaking hands in Shanghai with former US president George W Bush.

The revelations about how Beijing has infiltrated the British elite come as the National Security Council is poised to ban China’s Huawei from involvement in the UK’s 5G network tomorrow.

It alleges that China is recruiting ‘useful idiots’ to push the country’s agenda in the West.

Mr Hu, who sits in China’s upper parliamentary house, has also been pictured giving a thumbs-up while posing shoulder to shoulder with Donald Trump in 2018.

Eight years earlier he was seen shaking hands in Shanghai with former US president George W Bush.

The revelations about how Beijing has infiltrated the British elite come as the National Security Council is poised to ban China’s Huawei from involvement in the UK’s 5G network tomorrow.

Mr Hu is variously described as a ‘director’ and ‘national director’ of the CPAFFC, which is linked to the Communist Party’s ‘United Front’.

It was described in a dossier compiled with the help of a former MI6 spy as being ‘set up to pursue a United Front strategy … in order to promote a Party agenda abroad’.

The 86-page report, entitled China’s Elite Capture and leaked to this newspaper last week, made a string of incendiary claims that Beijing was trying to manipulate key figures in the UK.

Hidden Hand, written by Australian academic Clive Hamilton, a global authority on China, said of the CPAFFC: ‘Just as in the United Kingdom no community organisation can use the word “royal” in its title without official permission, in China, no community group would include the words “people” or “friendship” in its title without Party approval.

Mr Hu, who sits in China’s upper parliamentary house, has also been pictured giving a thumbs-up while posing shoulder to shoulder with Donald Trump in 2018
Mr Hu is variously described as a ‘director’ and ‘national director’ of the CPAFFC, which is linked to the Communist Party’s ‘United Front’. Here he is pictured with David Cameron, who was Prime Minister between 2010 and 2016

‘Friendship has a very distinct meaning, a cynical and opportunistic one. It does not refer to an intimate personal bond, but to a strategic relationship on behalf of the party.’

Such is Mr Hu’s standing in China that shortly after a parade in Tiananmen Square last October to celebrate 70 years of Communist Party rule, he posed for a photograph alongside Chairman Mao’s grandson Mao Xinyu.

In 2013, he was pictured with President Xi Jinping.

Political sources in China suggest that Mr Hu’s access to Establishment figures in the West is ‘unprecedented’.

Contacted for comment last night, Mr Johnson, Mrs May and Mr Blair said they did not know Mr Hu and were merely posing for photographs at large events.

A source close to Mr Brown indicated the former prime minister had no knowledge of Mr Hu. Mr Cameron declined to comment.

Mr Hu, who also uses the anglicised alias ‘Jacky’, is behind the Kai Xin Rong Group, which invested 500million euros in broadband in Greece shortly after the country’s prime minister visited Beijing.

He claims to donate a third of his personal wealth to charitable causes. He has also attended functions of the mysterious 48 Group Club in Britain at least twice, accompanied by Lady Xuelin Bates, wife of Conservative peer Lord Bates. Lady Bates was photographed giving a thumbs-up to camera alongside Mr Hu and Mr Johnson at a convention last year.

The 48 Group Club is in the spotlight after Hidden Hand claimed the political networking club was being used to further Beijing’s agenda by making connections with senior politicians.

The revelations came as Labour peer Lord Mandelson, also linked to the 48 Group Club, yesterday appeared to toe the Beijing line and accused the UK government of being at ‘sixes and sevens’ on China.

He said Britain needed to decide whether it was going to ‘jump on the anti-China bandwagon because that’s the current sort of fashion to do’ or to reconsider trade talks.

By GLEN KEOGH
DAILY MAIL

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