What we all know concerning the Chinese spying operation that focused French parliamentarians | EUROtoday

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François-Xavier Bellamy, Republican candidate for the European elections, in Saint-Vincent-Rive-d'Olt (Lot), April 26, 2024.

Monday May 6, the top of the listing of the Les Républicains (LR) occasion within the European elections, François-Xavier Bellamy, introduced that he had been the topic of a spying try from China. At the identical time because the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, acquired his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Paris, Mr. Bellamy introduced his intention to file a grievance with the specialised J3 part of the Paris prosecutor's workplace for “introduction and maintenance fraudulent in an automated data processing system.

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In recent weeks, other parliamentarians have also claimed to have been the subject of a Chinese spying campaign. What do they have in common? All are linked to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a network of elected officials, some members of which have been strongly criticized by Beijing.

“It is now confirmed that we are seven French parliamentarians to have been the target of a cyberattack sponsored by the Chinese state at the beginning of 2021”they explain in a statement published Monday May 6, calling on the French authorities to sanction those responsible. Hearings led by the senator for French people established outside France Olivier Cadic should also take place from June, it was announced at a press conference the same day.

Warned by the FBI

The origin of all these statements is not to be found in the French services but rather in the American federal investigators (FBI). On March 25, the American authorities published an indictment targeting seven alleged members of APT31. This group of hackers, suspected of being directly controlled by a Chinese state body, has been linked to multiple cyberespionage operations for around ten years.

If the report goes into little detail on APT31's operations outside American soil, it does however find mention of a campaign orchestrated in January 2021 and which consisted of the sending of “over 1,000 emails to over 400 accounts or individuals associated with IPAC”. André Gattolin, former senator La République en marche, and Anne Genetet, Renaissance deputy, confirmed to World having received at the time an email containing several images, the text of which related in particular to the crisis due to Covid-19. Both claim to have filed a complaint. Other IPAC elected officials have received similar emails, in Belgium, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

According to our information, a meeting between targeted IPAC members and the American authorities was held on Thursday May 9. As for the French elected officials concerned, we deplore a lack of communication from the French authorities. “We are discussing with the European Parliament because we do not know if the operation was completed”explains François-Xavier Bellamy.

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