The British Navy is reportedly ending its century-old tradition of Chinese laundrymen serving on its ships over fears that China is ramping up its spying efforts.
Revealing the news: The report of the British Royal Navy’s decision to stop its long-held practice of employing Chinese laundrymen came days after MI5 Director General Ken McCallum warned that China has increased its spying efforts to steal secrets and hinder the UK’s plan to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines in cooperation with the United States and Australia.
Key details: In response, the British Royal Navy has reportedly decided to replace their Chinese laundrymen, most of whom were from Hong Kong, with Nepalese Gurkhas, reported The Sun. The tradition of Chinese laundrymen on British Navy ships employed to wash and press sailors' uniforms and tablecloths has been in practice since the 1930s.
Espionage fears: The report claimed that the Chinese laundrymen are susceptible to pressure from the Chinese Community Party through threats to their family’s safety in China or Hong Kong, potentially forcing them to steal Navy secrets on behalf of Beijing.
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The Sun report noted that three Chinese nationals have been barred from being a part of the British Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, and her strike group voyage to the South China Sea.
A fourth Chinese laundryman, who has been working with the British Navy for 39 years, was also removed from duty this month as his family is reportedly living in Hong Kong.
Not all of them: Four Chinese laundrymen reportedly retained their jobs within the British Royal Navy as sources told The Sun that they have all passed security checks as their families have already moved to Britain.
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