Beijing military headhunting for PLA training provokes defense probe

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles has called on the Australian Defense Force (ADF) to open an investigation into allegations that Beijing is headhunting former and active members.

this comes after bbc report Up to 30 former British military pilots are believed to have been recruited by the Chinese government to train members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), prompting the UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) to issue an information threat warning about the campaign. Did.

The BBC said the UK government became aware of a recruitment drive in 2019 targeting military pilots with experience flying high-speed jets and helicopters such as the Typhoon, Jaguar, Harrier and Tornado, and that Beijing recently stepped up its efforts in its current position. claimed to have strengthened targeted staff.

The exercise is said to have been completed in South Africa, and the UK Ministry of Defense said other allies were also targeted.

The Chinese regime’s recruitment efforts are believed to help PLA fighter pilots understand Western military methods of operation, which could be important in any conflict between the West and China. have a nature

In an email to The Epoch Times, Marless said: [defence] Please investigate these allegations and come back to my office with clear advice on this matter. “

Epoch Times photo
Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles attends a joint press conference with the French Defense Minister at Brest Castle in western France on September 1, 2022. (Jean-Francois Monier/AFP via Getty Images)

Marless, who is also Australia’s deputy prime minister, said Australia deeply appreciates the services defense personnel provide to the country and would be shocked if the former military had accepted the offer.

“When our ADF personnel sign up for the Defense Forces, they do so to serve their country. We are deeply grateful for that,” he said. Above all, I would be very shocked and upset to hear that there are employees who are being misled by foreign salaries.”

UK government considers introducing new law to block Beijing intelligence gathering

Defense Minister James Heapy, Defense Minister for Veterans Affairs, said the UK government was considering introducing new legislation to prevent retired members of the defense from handing over information to the country in the future. Stated.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “Even after retirement, working with foreign powers, especially those that challenge the interests of the United Kingdom so zealously, is my understanding of the service to our country. does not match at all.

Chinese military pilot
This photo taken on November 11, 2014 shows Chinese female J-10 fighter pilot Yu Xu exiting a plane after performing at the Airshow China in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, southern China. increase.
State media reported on 14 November 2016 that the first woman to fly a Chinese J-10 fighter plane died after it crashed during aerobatic training. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, a Ministry of Defense spokesperson said:

“Although all active duty and former personnel are already subject to the Official Secrets Act and we are considering the use of nondisclosure agreements and nondisclosure agreements across our defense, the new national security bill will not allow modern We will create additional tools to tackle security challenges.One,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the MOD said at a press conference that there was no evidence that any of the recruited pilots had violated the Official Secrets Act or committed a crime, according to the BBC.

Victoria Kelly-Clark


Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australia-based reporter focusing on the national politics and geopolitical environment in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.