‘A Stunning Breach Of Security’: China Turns To New Tactic To Boost Military Using Ex-British Pilots
ZHUHAI, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 22: Fighter jet of the Bayi Aerobatics Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force arrives at Zhuhai International Airshow Center before the upcoming Airshow China 2021 on September 22, 2021 in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province of China.
Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Communist China has been using headhunters in South Africa to recruit ex-British military pilots to train pilots in China’s People’s Liberation Army, which has left Western officials scrambling to put an end to the practice.

Officials have said China has lured away dozens, potentially around 30 ex-military pilots, from the U.K. by paying them salaries of around $270,000 per year.

The New York Times reported that the U.K. is now working with allied nations to put an end to Beijing snatching away ex-military personnel due to the national security risks that it poses to the nations.

While none of the ex-military pilots appeared to be breaking criminal laws by helping the Chinese, British officials were determined to “tighten the controls on retired service members” to protect against them helping foreign adversaries in activities that could violate espionage laws, The Times said.

Deborah Haynes at Sky News reported that a defense analyst described the development as a “stunning breach of security” while a former senior military officer called the news “appalling.”

The report noted that none of the former military personnel whisked away by the Chinese have flown the most advanced fighter jets in the Royal Air Force and that most of the pilots had only flown older generation jets.

Still, officials were worried about the practice and are determined to put an end to it.

“We are taking decisive steps to stop Chinese recruitment schemes attempting to head hunt serving and former U.K. Armed Forces pilots to train People’s Liberation Army personnel in the People’s Republic of China,” a spokesman for the Defense Ministry told Times on the condition of anonymity.

“All serving and former personnel are already subject to the Official Secrets Act,” the defense spokesman said, “and we are reviewing the use of confidentiality contracts and nondisclosure agreements across Defense, while the new national security bill will create additional tools to tackle contemporary security challenges — including this one.”

Officials told Sky News that the Chinese were seeking Western pilots because they wanted to know how to “best to counter” the “capabilities” of the fighter jets that NATO countries use.

“It’s not training Chinese pilots on Western jets. It’s taking Western pilots of great experience to help develop Chinese military air force tactics and capabilities,” the official said. “It’s really the Chinese having an understanding of what the latest generation of tactics and approaches and capabilities would be were the Chinese military to get into situations coming up against those types of assets.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘A Stunning Breach Of Security’: China Turns To New Tactic To Boost Military Using Ex-British Pilots