AfD’s MEP office in Brussels searched over China spying accusations

The AfD party in Germany claims to be the most patriotic among the country’s political parties. However, Maximilian Krah, the Alternative for Germany’s top candidate in the upcoming European Parliament elections, is in trouble over accusations of China spying. Krah has been under scrutiny after one of his assistants was arrested last month on suspicion of spying for China.

Jian Guo, a German citizen who had been working for Krah since his election to the European Parliament in 2019, has been accused of spying for a Chinese intelligence service. He allegedly has repeatedly passed on information on negotiations and decisions in the European Parliament in January. Prosecutors have also claimed that he was spying on Chinese dissidents in Germany.

Krah has denied any involvement in the matter, saying that he and the party leadership learned of the arrest from the media. Despite this, German prosecutors have ordered the offices of Krah and Guo in Brussels to be searched based on orders issued by the investigating German judge and a European investigation order.

There are concerns about orchestrated Chinese spying activities targeting Germany, especially after three people were arrested last month for funnelling sensitive technology to China for military purposes. 

The timing of these accusations, just before the June elections for the European Parliament, has had a significant impact on the AfD’s popularity. According to a Forsa poll, the party’s support has dropped to 15%, its lowest level in a year.

“The measures are part of the proceedings against Jian G. on suspicion of acting as an intelligence agent,” the German prosecutors said.

“This was expected after his arrest and is therefore not surprising… Neither I nor other employees are affected,” he posted on social media platform X.

The AfD’s ties with Russia and its extreme racist rhetoric have put it under the authorities’ radar. This is not an isolated case, as far-right parties in other EU member states are also aligning with or supporting Russia’s positions in the EU. A similar spying scandal recently unfolded in Austria, where the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) is leading in the polls. Both the AfD and the FPÖ are members of the far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) Group in the European Parliament.

Beijing has denied the accusations of espionage in Europe.

Is AfD the party less hostile to spies?

The situation remains murky, with the extent of Krah’s involvement and the party’s knowledge yet to be determined. The allegations of ties with China and Russia have raised serious questions about the party’s commitment to the German Republic. Despite these allegations, Krah continues to be the AfD’s top candidate for the European Parliament election, adding to the intrigue and uncertainty surrounding the party. 

However, not only German prosecutors are interested in Krah’s actions. The news magazine Der Spiegel and public broadcaster ZDF have reported that the FBI questioned Krah in December regarding possible payments from pro-Russian sources. Krah denies receiving such payments and has called the investigation a mere supposition. Additionally, Petr Bystron, the second candidate on the AfD’s list for the European election, denied allegations that he may have received money from a pro-Russian network.

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