British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the ‘golden era’ of Britain and China is over

Sunak’s comments came shortly after groups across China held public protests to protest the country’s strict no-Covid policy.

Daniel Leal | afp | beautiful pictures

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the so-called “golden era” in relations with China was over, warning that Beijing’s move towards even greater authoritarianism would pose an systemic challenge to British values ​​and interests.

“Let’s be clear, the so-called ‘golden era’ is over,” Sunak said Monday in his first major foreign policy speech.

His mention of a “golden era” for Anglo-Chinese relations echoes comments made by former UK Finance Secretary George Osborne in 2015, who claimed Britain could be a “partner” of the UK. partner in the west.”

Sunak said it was “naive” to believe that closer economic ties over the past decade could lead to social and political reforms, accusing Beijing of “clear competition for the image of the world”. global influence using all the levers of state power.”

However, he warned that Britain could not rely on “mere rhetoric of the Cold War”.

The Chinese embassy in London was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment.

Sunak has faced pressure from Conservative supporters to strengthen his stance on China since he took over as party leader and prime minister. last month.

“We recognize that China poses a systemic challenge to our values ​​and interests – a challenge that grows more acute as it moves toward even greater authoritarianism. more,” said Sunak during his speech at the Mayor’s Banquet in London.

His comments came shortly after public protests were held across China to protest the country’s policies. strict no covid policy. A BBC journalist on Sunday was beaten and briefly detained by the police while covering an anti-government protest in Shanghai.

“Instead of listening to the people’s protests, the Chinese government chose to further suppress it, including assaulting a BBC journalist,” Sunak said.

“Our media and parliamentarians must be able to highlight these issues with impunity, including condemning abuses in Xinjiang and restrictions on freedoms. in Hong Kong.”

Sunak said the pace of geopolitical change is accelerating and “short-termism or wishful thinking will not be enough” in the face of challenges posed by Russia and China.


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