The China Peril

The China Peril

The charge sheet

  1. The oppression and destruction of the Uighurs. Its methods include killing, mass imprisonment, torture, rape, medical experiments, the removal of children from their parents, destruction of mosques and burial grounds, banning the use of the Uighur language, indoctrination, oppressive surveillance, slave labour: a genocide for the 21st century. And let’s not forget Tibet.
  2. Pressurising Turkey to stop providing refuge to Uighur and Turkic Muslims fleeing China and to extradite them to countries such as Tajikistan, from where extradition to China is easier. There are reports of Uighurs in Turkey receiving phone calls from Chinese police threatening family members still in Xinjiang if they do not stop campaigning against the ruling Communist party’s policies.
  3. A failure to deal with the risk of wet food markets, despite warnings given years back, leading to the development and escape of a new deeply serious virus, a world-wide pandemic and nearly 2 million deaths worldwide. The deaths and illnesses are continuing.
  4. Ordering the under-reporting of the severity of the epidemic at an early stage thus impeding early effective action to stop its spread.
  5. Attacking those doctors and others who first raised the alarm and concerns about the virus, including the recent imprisonment for 4 years of citizen journalist Zhang Zhan.
  6. The refusal to allow WHO officials to enter China to start their investigation into the origins of the virus in Wuhan, despite agreeing to this after months of negotiations.
  7. Introduction of a new security law in HK which effectively abrogates the terms of the China-Britain Handover Agreement. It applies to everyone, whether they live in HK or not, and regardless of their citizenship.
  8. The arrest of 53 HK democracy activists, lawyers and trade union activists belonging to the HK Confederation of Trade Unionists for alleged subversion arising out of their participation in the 2020 HK legislative primaries. It has also arrested John Clancey, a foreign national, lawyer, chair of the Asian Human Rights Commission and member of the Executive Committee of the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.
  9. Threats to the independence of the HK judiciary.
  10. Imposing de facto economic sanctions (bans, tariffs and disruptions of exports) on Australia, which has been admirably forthright in its criticisms of China. China is also waging a crude propaganda war against the Australian government for daring to criticise China – over HK, over Covid.
  11. Inflicting multiple cyber-attacks on key Australian systems in June 2020. It is believed to have been behind a similar cyber-attack on Parliament in 2019.
  12. Threats of retaliation against Britain for banning Huawei from its 5G network. It has threatened “substantial damage” against the British economy and British interests in China saying that it would “strike back… where the UK steps out of line”.
  13. Indulging in Iranian-style “hostage diplomacy” by arresting foreign citizens on trumped up charges whenever action is taken against Chinese citizens abroad.
  14. Fighting with India along the Himalayan border, killing 20 Indian soldiers in recent military skirmishes.

There is plenty more in the same vein.

And the world’s reaction?

The US Too preoccupied with its President seeking to overturn the result of a democratic election. Who will now listen to it lecturing other countries about democracy, the rule of law and human rights? Does it even notice – or care – about what is happening beyond its borders?

The UN It has voted China onto its Human Rights Council. (That sound you hear is Satire sobbing in the corner at the cruelty of a world which has made her services redundant.)

The EU Bless. It has decided that now is just the time to sign a draft investment deal with China, ignoring the copious evidence that China will use such deals to steal trade secrets and dominate vital supply chains. It seems to believe that China will comply with the deal’s employment requirements and ban on the use of slave labour. (To describe this as “naive” woefully underestimates how untethered from reality this belief is.) Good to see how constant the EU’s tin ear is. It deserves all the scorn and more poured on it by Chris Patten, a man who understands China and the EU better than most.

And Britain? Well, it has protested. It is offering a home to British National Overseas Passport holders in HK. Could it do more? Sanctions? A trade embargo? Removing Chinese Communist Party employees from jobs in British consulates and embassies? Limiting visas for Chinese students and officials? It may not be able to do much. But better something than the world’s current “bend over and hold your ankles” response to a dangerous, repulsive and belligerent state. If ever there were a case for divergence from the EU’s appeasement, surely this is it. Britain could even call it an Australian-style response.


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