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This matter is getting bigger and bigger in the UK, and there are three weird things!

author:Make up for a knife

Written / Nine Lives Knife & Qiuyang Knife

Recently, there has been a sudden wave of concern about "Chinese espionage" in Britain.

The topic itself is not new, and China and the UK have experienced similar turmoil in the past, but this time, there are two noteworthy doubts.

First, the US media has been hyping up "Chinese spies" one after another recently, such as the so-called "China built a spy base in Cuba" and "as many as 100 incidents of Chinese citizens trespassing into US military bases" exclusively published by the Wall Street Journal; Second, the British Foreign Secretary returned from a visit to China on the front foot, and the "espionage case" nearly six months ago suddenly broke out in the UK on the back foot.

Taken together, the coincidence feels strange, and one has to wonder if there are other forces contributing to it.

Where will China-UK relations go at this delicate juncture?

01

The British "Sunday Times" released exclusive news on the 10th that British police arrested two British men suspected of spying for China in March this year, one of whom is a researcher in the British House of Commons, and has been in contact with Tom Tugendhat, the British Minister of State for Security, and Alicia Kearns, chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. The two suspects have not been formally charged and will be released on bail until October.

There are cases of exposing espionage in various countries, and the United States and the West have repeatedly fabricated espionage accusations against China recently, but this British espionage farce is unusual in three points.

The first is the timing and manner of case disclosure.

The two suspects involved in the case were arrested in March this year, but the news suddenly came out six months later. Less than two weeks ago, British Foreign Minister Cleverley had just completed a visit to China, which raised expectations for the resumption of communication between China and the UK.

Now that the "espionage storm" has come out, the momentum of improving relations between the two countries may be affected.

Unexpectedly, the name of one of the suspects was suddenly exposed by the media. The Times conveyed the clearest message to readers with the simplest headline on the 11th: "The Chinese spy suspect is parliamentary assistant Chris Cash."

This matter is getting bigger and bigger in the UK, and there are three weird things!

As PolitPol News points out, the practice of publishing suspects' identities before formal indictments is not common in the UK justice system. The Metropolitan Police also asked lawmakers not to release the names of suspects so as not to obstruct the investigation.

But Cash's identity was revealed, and Ian Duncan Smith, a China hawk in the British Conservative Party, expressed support for making Cash's identity public on public interest grounds.

This begs the question: for some Britons, even the judicial process they are proud of in the face of the so-called "China threat" can be ignored? What is the purpose behind the exposure of Cash's identity and the fermentation of the incident?

Cash's response is the second unusual.

There are thousands of ways to defend yourself, and Cash probably chose the one that caught the eye the most: criticizing China.

Cash released a statement through his lawyer, saying: "In my career so far, I have worked hard to educate others about the challenges and threats posed by China's ruling party. Cash also stressed that if he really committed the crime he was accused of, "it would be against everything I stand for."

Whether these words can help Cash clear his name is unknown, but what is clear is that Cash seems to believe that stating an anti-China stance is his best "pass" and "gold medal for avoiding death."

If this is a common belief in the overall atmosphere of British politics today, it is undoubtedly something to be wary of.

At the same time, if Cash's past resume is really as "innocent" as he claims, it means that some forces are playing up the so-called "threat" posed by China to Britain's national security. They really need to be exposed from the shadows.

02

Third, such an inconclusive event has led to a dramatic and fierce quarrel in British politics, and there is no sign of its cessation.

On one side is British Prime Minister Sunak, who claims that he has a clear understanding of the "challenge posed by China", but that China and Britain cannot be disengaged. On the other side, Duncan Smith, former leader of the Conservative Party, argues that "the problem is that our definition of China is in confusion" and that Britain should now list China as a "threat".

Perhaps the "chaos" reflected in the "espionage storm" is the whole of British politics.

Specifically, it is manifested in some dangerous trends that intend to take the extreme line of "striking" against China, such as taking the opportunity to label everyone or everything related to China as a "threat".

On the one hand, there have been cases in British politics of attacking other politicians by "catching spies", and British Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt and his wife suddenly encountered such accusations.

This matter is getting bigger and bigger in the UK, and there are three weird things!

Because of the Chinese face of Hunter's wife, Lucia Guo, a radical conservative politician named Jim Ferguson launched a targeted attack on social media, making the couple, along with any previous projects related to China promoted by Hunter, the color of "Chinese spies".

But in fact, Hunt himself has spoken out in the past two days about the "spy catch" turmoil, arguing that "Britain will take 'very seriously' any attempt to subvert its democratic process, but the escalating espionage dispute with China highlights the need for diplomatic dialogue with Beijing."

"Diplomacy is talking to everybody and Britain will always understand that," Hunt said. ”

Whether this sentence caused trouble, we have no way of knowing. But at this time, saying a statement in favor of the Sino-British dialogue, even if there is no evidence, is likely to be labeled "weak" or even "infiltrated".

On the other hand, a force has also surged in the British political and public opinion to promote the comprehensive expansion of the anti-China atmosphere, and even branded the espionage turmoil as a "warning" to other areas of Sino-British relations.

More representative is an article published by the British "Guardian" on the 11th, entitled "Forget about "Chinese spies", trade rather than espionage is Britain's main concern for China.

This matter is getting bigger and bigger in the UK, and there are three weird things!

The article argues that "the claim that Chinese spies pose a threat to the British government is absurd", which seems to be cooling down the "catch spies" turmoil, but the author then turns the accusation of so-called "infiltration" and points to the economic and trade fields where China and Britain cooperate well.

The author claims that "China's state apparatus has long competed by infiltrating Western companies, pirating intellectual property, and using unfair trade practices" and that China's policies in poorer countries "resemble those of Western countries during the period of imperial expansion in the 19th century."

At this time, taking the opportunity to inject the "theory of China's economic threat" and list China-UK economic and trade ties as a "challenge" more serious than the "espionage" problem, how the British people feel can be imagined...

But what does this mean for Sino-British relations, do these politicians really understand?

03

An expert on British issues told "Make Up for One Knife" that this to a certain extent reflects that Britain is a strategic partner of the United States on anti-China issues, and the two countries seem to cooperate tacitly this time, and the intervention of pro-American people cannot be ruled out.

At the same time, in order to cope with next year's election, the Conservative Party also needs an issue to promote party unity, and "toughness on China" is a handy tool and a plus in the current British political climate.

This matter is getting bigger and bigger in the UK, and there are three weird things!

But what the UK doesn't know is that for onlookers this is a complete farce. A European expert shared a very apt metaphor with "mending a knife": it is particularly boring to quarrel in your own house and take an outsider into trouble.

Since Brexit, Britain has still walked blindfolded in the international diplomatic arena, unable to find its own position, trying to grasp the life-saving straw of the "special relationship" between Britain and the United States, and going further and further on the road of anti-China.

But once the United States began to strengthen its engagement with China, Britain seemed to suddenly "fall behind". When the collaborators put forward some signals that they want to engage with China, the so-called hardliners rush to find this issue to hype up and suppress cooperation.

Today, China-UK relations are moving fairly smoothly in the areas of economic and trade cooperation, science and technology and even investment, and Britain should see that all kinds of political manipulation against China's ulterior motives run counter to the practical interests of Sino-British exchanges.

But if such suppression and attacks occur again and again in the future, and even everyone in British politics is at risk, Britain's rational cognition of China will fall into a "silent spiral", and it is obviously impossible for the British government to maintain smooth Sino-British economic and trade cooperation while being politically tough on China.

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