China: Tobias Ellwood warns UK needs to ‘find a solution’
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China is on track to replace the US as the world’s largest economy over the next couple of decades. However, the communist ruled state has been widely accused of persecuting ethnic minorities, stealing trade secrets and unfairly subsidising some industries.
According to Dr Radomir Tylecote, Director of Defence and Security for Democracy at the Civitas think tank, there are ten ways Britain is being damaged by the Chinese state.
He urges British politicians to “urgently grasp that this relationship carries risk”.
Dr Tylecote warns Chinese companies remain “free to benefit from UK research excellence”, as the British Government “still hasn’t imposed sanctions” on many Chinese arms companies.
He said Beijing is undermining the UK with “unfairly subsidised” export industries, and urged Britain to stop accepting this “in the name of an unsustainable version of globalisation”.
The coronavirus pandemic was first detected in China late in 2019, and Dr Tylecote notes reports were initially supressed by the Chinese state.
He commented: “Beijing supported the successful candidacy of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as World Health Organisation Director General, and Tedros has praised China for its “transparency” over the disease, despite Chinese officials cracking down on doctors in Wuhan who warned early on about Covid for ‘spreading rumours’.
“Since then, China has refused to cooperate with attempts to investigate Covid’s true origins.”
Beijing has rejected calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus, and has blasted claims it may have originated in a Chinese laboratory as conspiracy theories.
Dr Tylecote warned Beijing’s ‘Belt and Road Iniative’, a multi-billion dollar investment project focused on Asia, Africa and Europe, poses “growing security headaches”.
He argued the project, inspired by the ancient ‘Silk Road’ trade route between East and West, is allowing China to “acquire infrastructure” which could pose security threats.
The academic also warned about Chinese energy investments in the UK, noting China General Nuclear (CGN) was allowed a stake in Hinkley Point C, Britain’s next nuclear power station.
Beijing has developed an advanced ‘social credit’ system, which allows citizens to be stripped of rights if they are deemed to be anti-social.
Those who have a low score, determined by political compliance and work ethic, can be banned from travelling or booking hotel rooms.
Dr Tylecote warned this “Orwellian” system could be inspiring politicians in the west.
He wrote: “China’s ‘social credit’ system is an Orwellian nightmare in the making: citizens are digitally monitored and lose ‘credit’ for transgressions, like disagreeing with the Communist government. Think nothing like that could happen here?
“Someone in Whitehall has had the bright idea of an app that gives people rewards for behaviour the state approves of, like discounts for eating healthy foods.
“It’s too early to call this a Chinese-style monitoring system, but it’s dangerous, and we should expect ideas like this to appear more frequently.”
Beijing has been widely accused of both political and industrial espionage, targeting the west.
Dr Tylecote claimed “Chinese cyber organisations routinely attack western citizens and organisations”, and argued UK agencies responsible for countering this are “under-resourced”.
The academic noted the increasing importance of China to Britain’s education system, with China sending “more students to the UK than any other foreign country”.
He argues it is “unwise for our universities to become so dependent on income from one country”.
Beijing has been accused of holding over one million Uyghurs, and other Muslim minorities, in re-education camps around Xinjiang.
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There have been allegations of widespread abuse; including forced labour, torture and sexual abuse, within the facilities.
China has repeatedly denied the allegations, insisting the camps are aimed at countering extremism and Islamic fundamentalism.
Dr Tylecote urged Britain to impose a new wave of sanctions in response.
He said: “Western corporations are too frightened of being barred from China’s lucrative market to speak up.
“Just as the UK was the first major country to ban slavery, the Government should now impose its own sanctions against China’s slave cotton.”
According to Dr Tylecote the British establishment has fundamentally misunderstood China, assuming economic liberalisation would lead to westernisation.
The academic warned: “For too long, the UK has been playing catch-up, hoping China will adopt our values if we offer them just one more carrot.
“This year the Government recognised that China is the ‘biggest state-based threat to UK economic security’, and we need to urgently grasp that this relationship carries risks.”
The Chinese embassy in London has been contacted by Express.co.uk for comment.
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