It is clear that unity among China's main economic partners is the only way to contain their aggressive ambition, and Britain should lead the way in building a coalition of like-minded countries to confront Chinese aggression, argues Robert Amara 

In their attempts to suppress the news of the initial Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, and by stonewalling all subsequence inquiries into the origins of the virus,  the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have proved beyond doubt that they cannot be trusted within the international community.

If anything, the last six months have revealed more about President Xi's China than the rest of his presidency combined. Under his instruction the increasingly aggressive actions of the CCP, in the South China Sea, or even the disputed areas of the Sino-Indian border, have intensified long standing conflicts. The conditions for the Uighur minority are as dire as ever before. And Xi himself has even now made clear his plans for a compulsory reunification between mainland China and Taiwan, and the CCP has expressed a willingness to use violence if necessary to achieve it.

Now, the very same leadership, are distracting from their mounting domestic troubles by enacting repressive security laws against Hong Kong, in clear violation of international treaties, and the will of the majority of the island's residents. While China has flagrantly broken international conventions in the past, the CCP's actions have now shifted towards outright and open hostility towards states perceived as threats. While the British Government has offered a lifeboat to the people of Hong Kong in the form of easing visa restrictions, this alone does not go far enough.

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With Britain's longstanding historic relationship with Hong Kong, the Government does have a moral responsibility to speak up for its former colony. While for the better part of the last 23 years China has remained (to some degree, at least) committed to the Joint Declaration, the last few months have demonstrated a clear shift in Chinese policy, China has now dismissed the Joint Declaration as nothing more than a historic document, with no modern practical relevance.

With this ongoing international context, it seems almost inconceivable that at the beginning of this year, the British Government thought it reasonable to allow what is effectively a Chinese state run company a role in Britain's 5G network. In recent weeks, the British political establishment finally appeared to wake up to the global threat China poses, and the allure of a 'golden relationship' with China has begun to lose its lustre.

While, until recently, British Government responses to Chinese aggression have been weakly worded rhetoric, the Government now has the opportunity to act. While Huawei, since the US sanctions on China have altered Chinese supply chains, could now be excluded from the UK on technical grounds, the Government could use this momentum to set out and enact a far more comprehensive and wide ranging strategy that limits which sectors of the British economy Chinese investments could be made in, ensuring British national security, by excluding China from key industries, while not entirely depriving the economy of Chinese investment.

Sadly, I suspect, our current Government remain more concerned with the potential economic fallout of joining the growing conflict with China, than they do about Britain's moral responsibility to stand up to Chinese aggression. While Covid-19, and the Government's lockdown, will diminish any potential actions the UK would be able to take, the UK doesn't lack the bandwidth to act.

It's time for the UK to take a stand against China. In recent decades China has successfully played Western countries against one another, safe in the knowledge that any single unilateral action is likely to be futile. Now, it is clear that unity among China's main economic partners is the only way to contain China's aggressive ambition, and Britain should lead the way in building a coalition of like-minded countries.

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