A foreign affairs expert has claimed China and Russia are using Scotland as a backdoor to influence British policy.
John Hemmings, a director of the Asia Studies Centre at foreign policy think-tank Henry Jackson Society, said authoritarian regimes were finding a “friendlier ear” in Scotland.
The society has accused China of waging an intellectual war on Britain.
Scotland has Confucius Institutes based at the universities of Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Heriot-Watt.
Russia has meanwhile prominently featured high-profile Scottish politicians, including former First Minister Alex Salmond, on its state-run broadcasts.
“Russia and China lost the Cold War and thus still view the West as opponents,” Mr Hemmings told The Times.
“If one were to ask why Russia and China might approach Scotland, I would have to say that presumably it’s because the [independence] referendum makes Scotland appear as a back door way into influencing the UK, somewhere Russian and Chinese perspectives might find a friendlier ear than London. If there were a larger game, one might see any potential separation of Scotland from England as a way to reduce the part of the West that is most likely to defend the rules-based system both diplomatically and militarily.”