China News - 22 February 2021
Raab set to address UN Human Rights Council today and call for investigation into Xinjiang. Raab is set to address the UN Human Rights Council at 11:30am, where he will call for UN investigators to be given urgent access to Uyghur camps in Xinjiang. He will warn that human rights abuses in the Chinese province are taking place on an “industrial scale”. London Playbook has the best preview of his comments, including Raab calling Xinjiang human rights abuses “extreme and extensive”. FT, Reuters, 22 February
Raab says he offered to visit Beijing to calm tensions over Hong Kong, but his proposition has so far not been accepted by China. Speaking at an event with the Conservative Friends of the Chinese, Raab added he still believed dialogue was the best way out of the impasse. SCMP, The Independent, 22 February
Boris Johnson declares he is 'fervently Sinophile'. Speaking at a roundtable for Chinese businesses on 12 February, Boris Johnson stated he was determined to improve ties “whatever the occasional political difficulties”. Johnson also signalled that he wanted a resumption of formal trade discussions between the two countries by reactivating two forums – the Economic and Financial Dialogue, an annual discussion between the two countries, and the China-UK Joint Trade and Economic Commission (Jetco). Both had been suspended in response to China’s repression of civil rights in the former UK colony of Hong Kong. The Guardian, 21 February
Earlier this month…On 5 February, People’s Daily put Premier Li Keqiang’s address to the UK’s 48 Group at its “Icebreaker” Chinese New Year Celebration on its front page. Li pledged to “enhance the stability of Sino-British relations.” Nikkei Asia, 20 Feb
PM makes significant foreign policy speech at Munich Security Conference on Friday, G7 takes place. Johnson made a key foreign policy speech at the Munich Security Conference on Friday, ahead of next month’s Integrated Review. He called out China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, but reiterated his faith in the value of liberal democracy. He also hosted the first G7 leaders meeting of 2021 on Friday. The official communique focused on the pandemic and economy, with a commitment to “consult with each other on collective approaches to address non-market oriented policies and practices". Reuters, Munich Security Conference speech, FT, NYT, 20 February
Pro-Beijing reforms threaten ‘end’ of HK’s legal system, top lawyer warns. Calls from pro-Beijing figures in Hong Kong to radically reform the territory’s judiciary could spell “the end of the present legal system”, the new head of the city’s Bar Association has warned. FT, 22 February
CGTN applies to France for right to air in Europe. France does not have rules that prohibit state-controlled broadcasters from airing in the country. FT, 21 February
Money laundering fears as UK universities accept £52m in cash. At least 49 British universities let students use banknotes to pay £52 million in fees over the past five years. The top cash-paying country was China. The Times, 22 February
UK academics struggle with stricter security on China partnerships. University leadership have said they are “in the dark” about navigating tightening national security requirements for Chinese partnerships. FT, 20 February
Farage weighs in on Chinese investment in British schools, warning against “Communist takeover”. His provocative comments came alongside a Daily Mail investigation into Chinese investment into British independent schools. More can be found in a Venture Education report into Chinese investment in UK education. Daily Mail, 22 February
Sino-US relations: China calls for end to trade restrictions and warns against interference. Wang Yi again laid out the conditions for a reset in Sino-US relations on Monday, warning against interference in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang. The Telegraph, FT, 22 February
India, China complete troop pullout from lake area. The move at Pangong Tso lake sets the scene for disengagement in other areas along the disputed Line of Actual Control. Reuters, 21 February
South China Sea: US warns Beijing against using force. The Guardian, 20 February
UK PM's remarks obstinately obtuse. China Daily leader on Boris Johnson, 22 February
Xi stresses studying Party history as CPC gears up for centenary. History has proved that China's success hinges on the CPC, according to a Xinhua commentary. Xinhua, 22 February
Rural agency makes debut, tasked with overseeing revitalisation of the countryside. China Daily, 18 February
China steps up focus on food security in major policy document, set to put greater pressure on regions to boost grain yields. Reuters, 22 February
Economy & tech
HSBC bets it all on red as Tucker banks on faith in winning ways. HSBC is accelerating its “pivot to Asia”, moving top executives from London to Hong Kong, scrapping its US retail banking operation and planning further expansion in Singapore. FT, The Telegraph, 22 February
Chinese government invests in gene firm BGI through state fund SDIC. BGI has strong links to the UK genomics industry. Reuters, 22 February
Britain’s first application for £2.6bn gigafactory from start-up Britishvolt. The Times, 20 February
Longer reads & opinion
We can still learn from China even while we reject Xi Jinping. If China ultimately out-competes us, it will not be because of dear leader Xi, but because of its people’s commitment to succeeding. We could use some of their attitude. Juliet Samuel in The Telegraph, 21 February
No, China is not the EU’s top trading partner. When you count services, not just goods, trade flows with the US are far larger. Politico, 19 February
China is preparing for another Olympics in Beijing, like it or not. China is also preparing another Olympic bid, this time with the cities of Chengdu and Chongqing as potential hosts for the Summer Games of 2032. NYT, 20 February
Xiaomi is undercutting the whole tech industry. And it’s working. Wired, 20 February
I was on the WHO's Covid mission to China, here's what we found. The Guardian, 22 February
The week ahead
Dominic Raab set to address the UN Human Rights Council. Parliament returns from recess.
HSBC set to report its full-year results and delivers an update on its strategic plan, likely involving a pivot to Asia. The Mobile World Congress kicks off in Shanghai.
Committee action: At 2:30pm, the Defence Committe hears evidence on China’s military ambitions from Meia Nouwens, Dr Alessio Patalano and Charles Parton. Also at 2:30pm, the Foreign Affairs Committee hears evidence on the FCDO’s role in blocking foreign asset stripping in the UK, and the International Development Committee hears evidence on the philosophy and culture of aid.
Hong Kong set to release its budget, with the largest budget deficit in 20 years.
Commons questions to the President of COP26 at 11:30am.
Questions on International Trade at 9:30am.
China’s Standing Committee will meet to draw up the agenda for the annual session of the National People’s Congress starting 5 March.