It’s almost as if Shakespeare foresaw the visit of Chinese Premier, Xi Jinping, to the UK today. What’s behind the smile? Perhaps dangerous times for the British, as the Conservative Government looks to cosy-up to this secretive Communist State that has recently emerged from isolation, blinking into the sunlight, to take up its place as one of the World’s biggest producing and consuming economies. Oh, did I forget to mention that Xi Jinping holds the rank of General in the Red Army.
We should not fear what we don’t understand. However, a wise man would tell you that you should fear what you do understand, and see as a threat. The Conservatives see nothing wrong with inviting the Chinese to build a nuclear power station in the UK, probably the first of many, and blithely stick to their ‘free market economy’ argument to justify allowing foreign governments and corporate entities to own and control our energy, utilities and transport sectors.
It’s not really the Chinese we should fear – we can see them coming. We still have a fairly independent media to keep tabs on them. No, it is our Government who are the cause for concern. It is not just the nuclear power issue with China, the latest in a long line of inviting in foreign investors to take control of our energy and utility assets, they could learn much about restrictive practices and State control of the population – a Chinese area of expertise. This is something the Tories are drawn to, as they have already shown an appetite for undermining the privacy and personal freedoms of its citizens.
Human rights abuses in China are said to be at their worst in a quarter of a century, according to the Chinese rights group, Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch Group (as reported on www.mirror.co.uk). The group’s founder, Liu Feiyue was quoted as saying: “The stability maintenance regime is getting stricter and stricter; you could say it’s getting more and more brutal, more and more inhumane.” The group claimed it found measures, including phone tapping, house arrest, enforced ‘holidays’ and criminal detention, had occurred on 2,270 occasions during the past year. There have been 1,800 cases of arbitrary detention since Premier Xi came to power, and 245 lawyers have been targeted as part of a crackdown on civil liberties (according to the China Human Rights Defenders), something I’m sure the Conservatives envy. Smile, David, and don’t mention human rights!
Restrictions on internet access and use in China are so restrictive that they have been termed, ‘The Great Firewall of China’. It is Chinese policy to detain any political activists whose internet postings are viewed more than 5,000 times or re-posted more than 500 times, according to Reporters Without Borders. Chinese writer and professor Liu Xiaobo was jailed in 2008 for circulating a petition calling for greater democracy in China and the end of the one-party system. In 2010 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning work, but has been unable to collect it as he is only half way through an 11-year prison sentence. Maybe Dave could stand up for democracy and freedom of speech and raise the matter?
Even our security services are concerned about a possible nuclear energy deal with the Chinese. Chris Hughes, writing in the Daily Mirror, quoted a security source as saying; “The view of the intelligence community is that it is not a good idea for Britain’s safety.” Intelligence agencies believe “cyber warriors” could plant devices to access our nuclear security. There are talks underway for the Chinese to build a nuclear power plant at Bradwell in Essex, and the possibility of them coming in on EDF’s power station at Hinckley Point in Somerset. The latter would mean a partnership between the French and Chinese Governments to run a nuclear power plant in Britain!
What concerns me most about the activities of the Tories in Government is that they will kow-tow to anyone with money regardless of their political ideology or human rights records. Will they do a deal for cheap Chinese steel at the same time and finally kill off the last vestiges of British industry? The Saudis and Chinese are welcome to their Establishment Club anytime – it’s just the British people who are excluded.