An employee of AfD MEP Maximilian Krah has been arrested on suspicion of spying for China. In a statement from the Federal Prosecutor General, the arrested man, Jian G., is accused of passing on information from the European Parliament and spying on Chinese opposition figures in Germany. The background is therefore findings from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The development puts great pressure on the AfD, which has been confronted for weeks with reports about possible connections of its top candidates for the European elections, Krah and Petr Bystron, to pro-Russian networks. The party leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla summoned Krah to Berlin for crisis talks.

Krah: I found out about it from the press

The EU Parliament suspended Krah’s assistant. He himself wrote on If this proves true, this would result in the immediate termination of the employment relationship.” He told the “Bild” newspaper at the airport in Strasbourg that, as far as he knew, his employee had only maintained “contacts with official Chinese bodies in the embassy.”

According to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the arrest was made on Monday by the Saxony State Criminal Police Office in Dresden. The accused’s apartments were therefore searched. He is accused of acting as an agent for a foreign secret service in a particularly serious case. Since last January, Guo is said to have repeatedly passed on information about negotiations and decisions in the European Parliament. During the course of the day he was to be brought before the investigating judge at the Federal Court of Justice.

Weidel and Chrupalla were taciturn

Weidel and Chrupalla only spoke briefly before a meeting of the AfD parliamentary group. Krah is on his way to Berlin. We will sit down with him in the evening or at the latest on Wednesday morning. “We see it as absolutely disturbing if, of course, an employee was arrested here (…),” said Chrupalla. Chrupalla and Weidel did not respond to questions from journalists as to whether Krah was still the AfD’s right top candidate for the European elections and announced a statement after the conversation for “Wednesday morning at the latest.” A spokesman for Weidel later said when asked that the meeting would not take place until Wednesday morning.

The election is in seven weeks. Behind Krah, Bundestag member Bystron is in second place on the list of candidates. Both have been in the spotlight again and again recently: for weeks they have been exposed to allegations and reports of being involved in pro-Russian propaganda channels and of possibly having accepted money in this context. Both reject this.

“Of course I was in China”

Now China – “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and “t-online” had already reported in detail about Krah’s connections to the Middle Kingdom long before his employee was arrested. Krah’s connections there went back a long way. He traveled the country in the early 2000s and later spent periods abroad in Hong Kong and Shanghai after studying law and completing his doctorate. He remained connected to the country even afterwards. The “Süddeutsche” wrote that Krah was being targeted by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution because of dubious connections to China.

Krah recently said in a detailed interview with journalist Tilo Jung: “Of course I was in China, I’m everywhere, I have lots of friends.” The conversation was about a trip to the People’s Republic in 2019. Krah assured that he had paid for the flight himself. The hosts only covered the costs for three business hotels and a train ticket. He stated this correctly in the EU Parliament’s transparency register. “So we’re talking about a train ticket and two or three hotels and a meal. Let it be 500 euros,” said Krah. He did not meet with the secret service.

Who is the employee?

As “” reports, the arrested man has Chinese roots, but has been a German citizen for several years. Guo came to Dresden, where Krah also comes from, in 2002 as a student. Over the years he is said to have gotten to know him in connection with starting a company. When he entered the European Parliament in 2019, Krah brought him into his Brussels team as an assistant, according to information from “Zeit online”. A little later he accompanied Krah on a trip to China. The report states that he has been working for the authorities in Beijing since then at the latest. The man is therefore not unknown to the German security authorities. He offered himself as an informant more than ten years ago. However, the cooperation did not come about because the suspicion arose that Guo could act in Chinese interests.

Krah sees no reason for personal consequences

After the arrest, the AfD’s leading candidate for the European elections sees no reason for personal consequences. “I’m not accused of any wrongdoing. That means we have to clarify what is actually true. I won’t go to hell for the alleged wrongdoing of my employee,” Krah told the news magazine “Politico” in Berlin.

The employee of the AfD MEP was arrested in Dresden yesterday evening on suspicion of spying for China. According to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, he is accused of acting as an agent for a foreign secret service in a particularly serious case. The party leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla want to hold a crisis meeting with Krah in Berlin tomorrow to discuss how to proceed and possible consequences.

Indignant reactions

Top politicians from other parties reacted to the reports with sharp words. Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) said: “If the accusation is confirmed, it will hit the heart of our democracy.” Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) called the espionage allegations “extremely serious.” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) said that it was sadly not surprising “that in the last few months we have increasingly seen what many already knew, that anti-democrats around the world are trying to undermine democracies from within, using various means.”

Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer reacted indignantly. “Anyone who spies, anyone who accepts bribes, is damaging Germany, betraying the people and our country,” explained the CDU politician in Schmilka, Saxony. “I think it’s disgusting and out of character.” Sharp criticism also came from other politicians, some of whom called for Krah’s withdrawal.

The day before, three suspected spies for China were arrested in Düsseldorf and Bad Homburg. The two men and a woman are said to have obtained information about military technology in Germany in order to pass it on to the Chinese secret service. China rejected reports of its own spies in Germany. “The intention behind this hype is quite obvious, namely to slander China, suppress it and undermine the atmosphere of cooperation between China and Europe,” a Beijing Foreign Ministry spokesman said.