Fears of severe air-motion discomfort keep me from closely following Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK. The two governments vie to be more blatant – and blatantly unconvincing – in parading this contrived and cynical new ‘friendship’. Looking past the headline trade and investment stuff, it seems they each see this exercise as a way of grabbing an advantage at the expense of third parties. And the strange part is that they are the same third parties: the UK’s Western allies.
Beijing is puffed up on its own propaganda about its strategic clout – growing military reach, the One Belt, One Road Eurasian empire dream, etc. Yet at the same time it is paranoid about the US containing it, plotting colour revolutions and enjoying currency and information hegemonies. Since anything that weakens the West by definition strengthens China, how can it resist dividing the Western alliance by luring the UK closer if the opportunity arises?
The Brits, meanwhile, are up to their ears in debt and half-tethered to a dysfunctional European trade zone. Chancellor George Osborne, probable heir to the premiership, needs a Get Out of Jail Free Card. Assuming that he and his advisors are not especially naive, they will have calculated that China’s economic quandaries and its angst as lonely-and-unlovable Number Two world power, make it a bit vulnerable. In theory, that adds up to potential economic opportunities and benefits, and if the Brits don’t grab them, the slime-bag French or someone else definitely will.
It’s sort of an international relations version of a one-night stand, born of late-night desperation and lust, probably to be followed by a hangover and a walk of shame.
A Bloomberg source says that Beijing is to scrap capital controls by 2020. The source is probably duff; otherwise, this is delusion or bare-faced lies. The Communist Party can’t let Hong Kong University pick its own pro-vice-chancellor. It wets itself at the thought of Mainland students seeing a copy of the Magna Carta. It fears lawyers so much it kidnaps their kids overseas. And it’s going to allow international markets to decide its currency’s value and let its people move their savings offshore? Nope.
However, I declare the weekend open by giving the CCP a pat on the head for showing great wisdom and taste – in banning golf.
At least this time there was no cartoon of the Queen asking the Chinese leader:
“Do you have elections?”
” Yes evely molning.”
Things have moved on.
Hemmers, you are slipping badly as old age (slowly?) creeps up on you. You have correctly identified the immediate British motive for courting China : ‘money’, which Britain doesn’t have so much of these days since the City’s fat cats have monopolized what’s left of it.
However you are forgetting your history ( were you “sent down” at Cambridge or Oxford? , I can never quite remember whether you completed your O’ levels at Harrow or in thrice-sat modules at a middle England gas works secondary modern.
Coming back to history, remember Palmerson’s famous speech ( which he never actually made, but did imply ) : “Britain has no permanent allies , no permanent enemies , only permanent interests”.
Well this still holds good to this day and it makes a good strategic move to start looking for new allies, albeit perhaps only temporary, at a time when the current British government has committed to replacing her aging and rusting nuclear submarines. China is building its new class of type 96 “Tang” class submarines which will be a steal, price-wise, compared with the over-priced ships which Britain would otherwise have to build or humiliatingly allow the French to build on their behalf.
China and its strategic partner Russia will never invade Britain, even though Britain has twice invaded China and once part of Russia (Belarus) . Makes good sense, therefore, for Britain and China to do business together with Britain getting something for comparatively very little while China gets to learn the gastronomic secrets of making a good plate of fish and chips
Please correct a typo. Amend “Even though Britain has twice invaded China…..” to “Even though Britain has three-times ( or “thrice’) invaded China…….”
Capital Controls. That this comes from Bloomberg I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised – as they ignore the politics – however the CCP don’t. We can see clearly what the CCP think of free markets with the recent stock market shenanigans and that’s just a little side show. It all points to a general trend that China will soon outgrow the CCP and then what?
Did I spot a glimmer of a smile on Xi Jinping’s face – despite his nose being in a pint pot – must have been due to the all those concerns not raised by the British. Not least that the Hong Kong Government finally died late last year, 33 years early and nobody gave a shite.
Ah, the piteous Chinese: “They have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.”
Best make sure you’ve spelt Palmerston correctly before throwing stones at Hemmer’s education levels and senility. 😉
Seems like one of your readers (aka xiao mimi) missed some of that Great British snark whilst dreaming of Tang class subs, nuclear energy and addled by the reflected glare of red carpets, red flags, red glad rags and whatnot. Perhaps a bit under the radar of the comrades but the musical performance to welcome Daddy Xi included the theme song from ‘The Spy that Loved Me’ . Watch the film and perhaps the mao will drop.
I’m having a laugh.
From the past, here’s an unfamiliar name:
Hua Kuo-feng. In 1979, he came
To Western Europe, and toured with great success.
But his influence at home was rather less
Than people thought. Soon, in Peking’s shifting sands,
A crafty old survivor had his hands
On power; whose hands were stained
With revolutionary blood; who remained
Unseen for years, scathed by the monster he created;
Whose own son had been mutilated.
This conjuror, with a magic twist,
Opened a market and called it communist;
And made a land of cats, both black and white,
Where old is new, and left is right.
When Hua was being feted, in 1979,
Of what was soon to be, there was no sign.
From the present, here’s an unfamiliar name:
Chap (in Cantonese). This week he came
To England, and with great acclaim,
Received a welcome rarely seen
From Parliament and Queen.
England’s pomp and pageant were displayed
For the sake of Sino-British trade.
Thank you, China, for your huge donation
To our nuclear power station.
David Cameron was very glad to see it.
Well, so be it.
But in the land of Chap and Mao
What will happen now?
Golf in China before it was banned. From ‘Inside the Red Mansion’ by Oliver August. A match played at night. The fairways are illuminated.
At the first tee, a steward lined up forty female caddies dressed in grey uniforms, each with a bag of clubs. Then the [players] haggled over who would get each caddy. They walked right up to one or another of them, staring them in the eye. “Surely there are enough caddies for everyone,” I said to Fangmin.
“Yes, but they want the best. They are trying to see which caddy is the most honest, the least tired, and which has the best eyes to find a ball in the dark.”
“But why so many?”
“Everyone needs two caddies. One to carry your clubs, the other to watch your opponent and make sure he doesn’t cheat.”
[ There were allegations of cheating.] Both men had hired a third caddy after the cheating furore earlier: the first to carry the clubs, the second to watch the other player, the third to watch the other player’s caddy.
Xi’s gold coach parade to Buck House must have seemed like a warm welcome, but I wonder if the Queen was secretly thinking “bet you can’t match this”.
Chian so peaceful lah. Communist China has invaded Tibet. They are invading the South China Sea and they want to invade Taiwan.
Sorry Typo. That should of course be “Celestial Empire” not “Chian”.
@Outside Influence. I imagine that Phil and Lilibet, kicked back had a couple of G&Ts and had a right old laugh listening to Madame Peng’s PLA patriotic songs. I’m also imagining Xi and Wife trying to figure out Shakespeare’s sonnets: “Lo, in the orient when the gracious light’… and so on. An educational moment if they are brave enough to open the book. Do they dare?
I find it comical that as reported on weibo, netizens were quizzical about the Duchess’s having to wear a hand-me-down tiara from the late Queen mother. ‘Why can’t she buy a new one ?’ At the same time, Xi was pontificating to Parliament about four thousand years of Chinese history.
I think Prince Phil has the award for the snarkiest bon mot when touring the Royal exhibition. When shown a painting of the Qianlong emperor, Phil turned to Xi and said, ‘That’s one of your ancestors’.
I am still having a laugh.
China is peaceful my behind…Communist China invaded Korea (1950s), Vietnam(1970s) and India (1990s) but was beaten back…now China want to invade the East and South China Sea, Japan and the Philipines. Next China invades Taiwan and Guam…
China is asking for a world war and will bring to its doorstep a nuclear winter…
All good stuff from various contributors.
But remember, China Djinn/Gin is a fake, as shown by the deliberate punctuation errors.
“It’s sort of an international relations version of a one-night stand, born of late-night desperation and lust, probably to be followed by a hangover and a walk of shame.”
@Qian Jin: Can’t be bothered to read your drivel past the first line as it reminds me too much of either Pierce Lam or the other usual .50 cent suspects that popped up all over SCMP (conveniently – AND with paid subscriptions), just as the “Umbrella Revolution” started last year.
I think The News Quiz nailed it with their use of this song to cover the story. Definitely a contender for Qian Jin’s song of the month.
@LRE, that was hilarious. Thanks for posting!
The Japanese five and dime knickknack shops are less disturbing than the little stores in older malls selling Nazi paraphernalia. Amazon probably does more damage in the long run, but eventually we’ll move off this planet and fill all the black holes with our crap.