For Rishi Sunak, China poses “a systemic challenge” to the West

DANIEL LEAL / AFP UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall in central London on November 28, 2022. – The Lord Mayor’s Banquet is held in honor of the outgoing Lord Mayor and is hosted by his successor, the new Lord Mayor of the City of London. Traditionally, the Prime Minister gives a major speech on world affairs at this event. (Photo: Daniel LEAL / AFP)


Rishi Sunak assessed on Monday 28 November that the “golden age” between Beijing and London was over. (Pictured: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall in central London on November 28, 2022.)

United Kingdom -” stand up in Beijing. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was extremely determined this Monday evening, November 28, and believed so “Golden Age” between Great Britain and China was over. In his first major foreign policy speech at the Guildhall, the palace in the City of London, he advocated a more pragmatic approach to “systemic challenge” posed by Beijing.

“Let’s be clear, the famous golden age is done, youout as the naive idea that trade will automatically lead to political and social reform”said Rishi Sunak, referring to the warming of Sino-British relations from 2015 under David Cameron.

A BBC journalist “beaten” and arrested in Shanghai

Rishi Sunak also sought to oppose the values ​​of British democracy to those of the Middle Kingdom. as the country moves towards even greater authoritarianism”. The Prime Minister thus believed that Beijing now represented ” a systemic challenge to our values ​​and our interests, an increasingly obvious challenge “.

This powerful speech comes after the arrest and police violence against a BBC journalist covering protests in Shanghai. The BBC claimed on Sunday night that its reporter Ed Lawrence had been “arrested and handcuffed while covering protests in Shanghai”. According to the British audiovisual giant, “he was punched and beaten by the police” before they are released.

The BBC also explained that it had only had “no official explanation or apology from the Chinese authorities, other than a claim by officials who later released him that they arrested him for his own good in case he caught Covid (mid) a crowd”. “We don’t see that as a credible explanation.”

Sparked by the mobilization against the lockdowns and restrictions imposed by the authorities to combat the Covid-19 epidemic, the anger brewing in China seems unprecedented since pro-democracy demonstrations were suppressed in blood in 1989. “Instead of listening to the protests of its people, the Chinese government has chosen to crack down more, including by attacking a BBC journalist.”, the prime minister condemned in his speech on Monday. “ The media – and our parliamentarians – must be able to bring these issues to light without being sanctioned.”he insisted.

“Threat Number 1”

The incident only worsens already strained relations between Beijing and London amid strong criticism from the United Kingdom, particularly over China’s takeover of Hong Kong and recent incidents on British soil. But if the prime minister has said he will do it “develop” Britain’s approach to the Asian country, we must not “ignore” according to him “China’s Place in World Affairs”.

Earlier on Monday, the spokesman for the head of the British government had described as “shocking and unacceptable” the arrest of the journalist. “But that doesn’t mean we won’t seek to have constructive relations with China on other issues.” such as the fight against global warming or the economy.

A speech that seems to have faded as Rishi Sunak called China a “threat number 1” for Britain during the campaign that took him to Downing Street. The United Kingdom was recently marked by the violence suffered by a pro-democracy activist from Hong Kong at the Chinese consulate in Manchester, in the north of the country. But also from information from a Spanish NGO, according to which Beijing has opened secret police stations in several Western countries, and especially on British soil.

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