In light of the ERG’s success the new China Research Group (CRG) is being formed at a time when we really need to reappraise our approach with China. In short we in the West have for too long been bankrolling their economic growth so they can carry out the most terrible human rights abuses which include:
1) Ethnic cleansing of Tibetans (via forced sterilisation along with other heinous crimes).
2) Locking up over a million Uighur Muslims in prison camps so vast they are visible from space.
3) Ensuring over a billion people have no freedom of association, freedom of religion or freedom to determine their own futures via a democratic vote.
4) Overseeing the ‘dissappering’ of people deemed critical of the state. Now we have yet another Communist classic, yet another self-declared President for life with Xi Jinping.
5) Aggressive actions in the South China Sea which recently resulted in a Vietnamese fishing vessel being sunk by the Chinese. China disputes the UN’s ruling on what constitutes their maritime space and their building of artificial islands with military hardware and other installations run counter to international norms. How many islands do they need to cease or manufacture before the camels back is broken? It is all so very incremental, and very under the radar.
As horrible as the above points are, we in the West have been complicit with this on both a national and consumer level. All so we can buy cheap products (much of which ends up in landfill within a short time frame).
Now we have their latest export, that of Covid-19. China suppressed information on Covid which in turn means many tens of thousands have died that may otherwise have lived had China had been more open and transparent from the beginning. Of course as we know openness and transparency run counter to Communist ideology.
Furthermore in the West governments and policies change on a frequent basis and in China they have been playing the long game. It’s time we smelt the coffee and had a big re-think.
Ideal outcomes from the West and the CRG would be to drive policy towards gradual detachment from China. For the worlds supply chain to be so dependent on a single state is simply a terrible idea at the best of times. A sliding scale of tariffs working upwards would be one idea to consider.
Detachment may take a decade or two, but make no mistake we in the West should be prepared via one method or another to ensure this happens. It is time we joined up business with democracy, democracy by its very nature is delicate and increased Chinese interference in elections is evidence that they are seeking to take advantage of this to their own ends. We should reward states that are on a democratic path with lower tariffs and have a more ethical joined up global business model. Now we are free to do trade deals detached from the EU this is certainly something we should look to factor in to a far greater degree.
How is it fair for example that Chinese companies (which lets face it are all fronts for the Chinese State) are able to buy up western companies yet this ability is not reciprocated? How on earth did we get into this situation? It is something that needs sense checking and the rules should be that they can buy what we in the West can buy of theirs that’s equivalent. For example a port or manufacturing company.
Why does China love buying telecoms and infrastructure? Officially this is all part of their Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) which is all about expanding Chinese influence with 70+ counties all over the world. China clearly has a strategy and it all seems to point towards future conflict in the South China Sea being ever less likely as how can one engage in conflict when they ‘own’ so much of your critical infrastructure? If freedom loving countries won’t stand up to the Chinese threat with their Nine Dash line conquest of the South China Sea then where will China turn next?
As the Wikileaks demonstrated certain Governments were suggesting the West should be assertive where needed to bring China back into line with international norms where needed. Can the West along with our Asian allies even bring about a joined up response or ultimatum as will surly be needed as some given point in time? Currently both the US and Australia is looking at a change of policy that indicates detachment and here in the UK we should play our full part in supporting this as part of a joined up response.