Czech intelligence units warn against China and TikTok

Czechia is overly reliant on China for medicine, which could cause a catastrophic situation if the supply were to stop. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 21.02.2023 10:04:00 (updated on 21.02.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

China poses a threat to European security and stability not only through its massive spread of disinformation but also as the biggest producer of medicines. Czech officials also raised concerns over data collection by the Chinese app TikTok.

Czechia needs to effectively face the risks from the Asian superpower’s activities, and warnings from Czech counter-intelligence service (BIS) shouldn’t be underestimated, BIS chief Michal Koudelka said at a conference yesterday.

Security risks from China are more insidious than those from Russia, according to Koudelka.

BIS’s previous warnings about Russia were often ignored and it would be wrong to repeat the same mistakes. "Please, listen to us now when we are saying that Chinese activities pose risks to Czechia and we have to be prepared and determined to face them effectively," Koudelka said.

Reliance on Chinese-made medicine

One area that poses a threat is Czechia’s reliance on China for medicine. "We cannot imagine what would happen if China stopped its production of medicines for Europe as a result of an international crisis or conflict," Koudelka said.

Czechia's position in the international community does not depend on how successful Czech firms are in China, but on what values Czechia represents. "We must not jeopardize our own security and give up the moral values that make us strong," Koudelka said.

He also warned against Chinese espionage, which has improved in recent years. "Currently, we face a rival [state] that has a huge human force, state-of-the-art technologies, and unlimited financial means at its disposal," he said.

According to him, pro-Chinese subjects have succeeded in influencing public opinion, as a result of which the illusion of China as one of Czechia's main economic partners persists among Czechs.

Conncerns over TikTok

National Cyber and Information Security (NÚKIB) head Lukáš Kintr warned of the Chinese network TikTok, which has 2 million users in the Czech Republic.

"There is an excessive collection of data a part of which is not connected with the functioning of the application at all," Kintr said.

In its annual report for 2021, the BIS warned against China's acquisitions in Czech companies and against tendencies to transfer productions from Czechia to China. The Chinese Embassy in Prague said the information in the BIS report was unsubstantiated criticism.

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