Tag Archives: china

The Chinese are coming!

Vince in ChongqingChinese Premier Li Keqiang left on Monday this week on a 5 day visit to Britain and Greece.  With him, according to the press, is a 200 strong business delegation, expected to sign up some £18 billion worth of deals.

Just over 2 weeks ago, I was part of Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable’s business delegation to China, taking in 5 cities in 6 days.  Vince was scheduled to be in Beijing to attend UK-China Joint Economic & Trade Committee (JETC) talks with his opposite number, Mr Gao HuCheng, the Minister of Commerce.

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Nick Clegg attacks human rights abuses in China

Nick Clegg Q&A 12Yesterday we commented on Nick Clegg’s press conference in which he launched the first phase of the manifesto.

We did not then cover the comments he subsequently made about the visit by the Chinese Premier to the UK.

Nick is quoted:

We can’t ignore the large-scale and systematic human rights abuses which still continue in China to this day the very widespread use of the death penalty.

We have seen economic transformation on a scale possibly unheard of in the modern world where millions of people have become economically

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Jeremy Browne’s ‘Race Plan’. I’ve read it, so here’s my review…

Jeremy Browne bookThree points to make right from the start about Jeremy Browne’s new book, Race Plan.

First, it’s a wholly Good Thing that a Lib Dem MP is choosing to think aloud, to set out clearly his views. Nick Clegg having decided that he did, after all, like one of the Beecroft recommendations and decided to fire-at-will his home office minister, Jeremy could have slunk away, tail between his legs, to nurse his bitterness. He’s chosen a rather more constructive outlet for his disappointment. By which I mean this book, rather than his short-lived, C.19th-throwback, gap year beard.

Secondly, there is a fundamental problem with the central conceit of this book: that Britain is in a global race, and that if we don’t get fitter, we’ll be overtaken by or competitors in the coming Asian Century, fall behind, and become poorer.

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Chinese Liberal Democrats publish e-book on twinned cities

In today’s globalised world, twin city links with China can be profitable bridges between knowledge economies if approached in a creative way by local Councils, business clusters, educational institutions and research establishments working together.  But there are many pitfalls and long-term, multi-layered commitments, leveraging existing core strengths, are required to make them work.  This report by the Chinese Liberal Democrats is a useful handbook on how 21st century twin city-led partnerships can bring valuable results in trade, investment, science and education.

Richard Pascoe- Executive Director, Great Britain China Centre

I  welcome this interesting report.  Twinning links with China, with political leadership

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Postcard from China (2): The Pearl of the Orient

alex payton british consulate hong kongShould the Head of State be elected? Who should be allowed to be a candidate, and who should be allowed to vote?

Hong Kong currently faces these questions in its quest for universal suffrage and a democratic future, and was the recurrent theme during the second part of the trip to China organised by the British Chinese Project, in which I and three other Lib Dem delegates – Merlene Emerson, Sarah Yong and Steven Cheung – took part along with representatives from the other two main …

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Postcard from China: Reflections from a visit to Guangdong province (Part 1)

After returning from my first ever trip to China, I felt a ‘postcard’ was in order to summarise this wonderful experience. It was a huge honour to be asked to represent our Party along with fellow Chinese Lib Dems Merlene Emmerson, Alex Payton and Steven Cheung on this visit by official invitation of the Chinese Government in the Guandong province in Southern China. The trip was organised by the British Chinese Project, a not for profit organisation that works to increase awareness and greater engagement in politics by the British Chinese population. Our sixteen strong delegation included representatives from all …

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Opinion: Yin and Yang in China

Images of Mayor Boris Johnson and Chancellor George Osborne in China have featured large in the media over the last week. They have been dubbed Yin and Yang: Boris must be Yin, the softer, cuddlier one, the one that makes school girls giggle over references to Harry Potter and his first girl friend, and Osborne, Yang as he tackles tougher subjects, such as going nuclear with China.

In fact critics such as Will Hutton have been less kind and have instead suggested that the duo have sold out and opened the UK to all manner of risks …

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Opinion: More than a Fly on the Great Wall

Great Wall of ChinaLast November I blogged here about my trip to China shortly before the Chinese leadership handover at the 18th Party Congress.  On Sunday 17 March that hand over was finally completed with Xi JinPing installed as President and Li Keqiang as Premier of the world’s emerging second super power.

China watchers have been keen to study the background of these two men to predict the future direction of the Chinese Communist  Party under  their leadership.  Their fluency in the English language and easy manner might suggest that they are more westernised hence would be “modernisers” or “reformers”.   I believe it is still early days to be using such labels.

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LibLink: Vince Cable – Investors deserve red carpet, not red tape

Vince Cable - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsIn the Telegraph, Vince Cable writes:

Britain is open for business. What we say to the emerging economies of the world is that, more than other Western countries, we welcome their investment, ideas, talent and visitors. We are not economic nationalists. We are not inward looking. That is a powerful message in São Paulo, Moscow, Mumbai and Shanghai.

In the article he concentrates on our trading relationship with China.

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Opinion: A fresh look at China’s road to democracy – the way ahead

Great Wall of China - Some rights reserved by radiowood2000
Is China now on the road to democracy? My answer is “yes”.

I began to observe China’s democratic progress on 5 April 1989. Now, 23 years has past. China is still at the starting point. We know in modern democracy, people can decide their own lifestyle and enjoy their own freedom. How about democracy and people’s freedom in China today?

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Opinion: A fresh look at China’s road to revival

Great Wall of ChinaOn 14 Nov 2012, Xi Jinping was elected as the new Communist Party of China (CPC) General Secretary in the 18th CPC National Congress of the People’s Republic of China.

In his first speech to the press on 15 Nov, Xi Jinping, together with the 6 new elected members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, put his focus on continuous open reform and strong CPC governance responsive to the Chinese people’s needs. Also, he mentioned that China’s revival (China’s rejuvenation) will be a continuous important national goal in …

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A postcard from… China: a fly on the Great Wall

Great Wall of ChinaIt was not my first visit to China (in fact my third time climbing the great wall) but certainly the most intense: ten days from 22nd October to 1st November.  Along with 26 other Overseas Chinese delegates involved in politics from eight nations in Europe and Africa, I was on a study visit at the invitation of the Chinese Government on the eve of the 18th Peoples’ Congress.

Amongst our number were an MP from South Africa, an ex-Minister from Mauritius, a special advisor to the Mayor of Cologne, Germany (twinned with Beijing), Councillors from the Netherlands and France, as well as representatives from all 3 major parties in the UK. Other Liberal Democrats included Councillor Sam Li from Lewes, Jerry Cheung from Sheffield and Anna Lo from our sister Alliance party in Northern Ireland.

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A fresh look at the Diaoyu Islands

On 15 August 2012, 14 Chinese from Hong Kong were arrested by Japanese coastguards in Diaoyu Islands by the East China Sea. Seven of the Chinese were returned to Hongkong by air on 17 August and another seven by boat on 22 August.

Diaoyu (meaning “fishing” in Chinese) Islands are group of 5 very tiny islands situated in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Okinawa. Since the Ming Dynasty, the Chinese have used these islands as a military front against Japanese pirates and 17th century sources showed the maritime boundary to be between the Diaoyu (also known as the “Senkaku” islands to the Japanese) and the Ryukus where turbulent waters mark the edge of the continental shelf (see map).

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Willie Rennie says Salmond should meet Dalai Lama

First Minister Alex Salmond loves to meet international dignitaries and world leaders. Every chance he gets, he’s off playing a larger than life role on the international stage. Just last weekend, he was in Los Angeles promoting Scottish business and schmoozing with celebrities at  a film premiere.  It’s all the more surprising, then, that he can’t find a space in his diary to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits Scotland this week. This is in stark contrast to the reception the exiled Tibetan Spiritual Leader received in 2004 when he addressed the Parliament and met the then First …

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Opinion: Water – time to see it as a national interest?

News that one of China’s leading wealth funds has taken a 9 percent stake in Thames Water is significant. The investment comes quick on the heels of a Gulf sovereign wealth fund taking a similar size stake in Thames Water’s parent company, Kemble.

It’s a measure of confidence in Britain’s infrastructure technology and role in the world as a safe haven for long term investment crows George Osborne. Liberal Democrats may be inclined to take a different view.

What Osborne fails to mention is that because of increased water-scarcity throughout the world – including the UK – water is set …

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LDVideo: Jeremy Browne’s pledge to Sam Fox: I’ll raise issue of tiger farms with Chinese government

As the BBC reports:

The former model and singer Sam Fox challenged foreign office minster Jeremy Browne on the Daily Politics about tiger farms in China which she wants to see closed. Mr Browne told her that he would raise the matter with the Chinese. Fewer than 3,500 tigers remain in the wild around the world.

You can watch the exchange below:

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Opinion: 100 years on from the Xinhai Revolution

Today is 1st October, the National Day of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This year is also the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, which in celebrations in July, was marked by a 90 minute speech by the Party’s General Secretary Hu JinTao.

Perhaps more significantly, this year is the 100th anniversary of the XinHai revolution, that had begun with the Wuchang uprising on 10 Oct and led to the abdication of the last Emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

Dr Sun Yat-Sen, hailed by all as the father of democracy in China, had …

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Martin Horwood MP writes: Facing up to human rights in China

Premier Wen Jiabao of China arrived in Britain over the weekend for a series of events culminating in bilateral talks with the Prime Ministers today at Number Ten.

While the discussions will undoubtedly turn to the economy, trade agreements and further cooperation between our two countries, I hope the Prime Minister will also promote our greatest exports: our long held values of democracy, human rights and free speech.

These bilateral meetings offer the British government a chance to place human rights unambiguously on the agenda in our discussions with the Chinese. As William Hague wrote last year, “promoting human rights is …

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Merlene Emerson writes: Reflections on Media Freedom in China

I am writing this on the 22nd anniversary of ‘Six Four’ (the codename for the Tian An Men incident that occurred on 4th of June 1989). Perhaps no better day to reflect on the subject of media censorship in China and to question the role of international broadcasters?

Only yesterday I was with some 200 people at a talk organised by BBC Chinese Service at Chatham House. To my amazement even the English panel speakers such as Dr Kerry Brown (Head of the Asia Programme at Chatham House), Madeline Earp (Research Associate at the Committee to Protect Journalists) and Prof Hugo de Burgh (Director, China Media Centre) all managed to deliver their speeches in Mandarin. Sadly no interpretations were provided at this over-subscribed event.

I attempt here to disseminate some of the content (Chatham House rules have officially been suspended).

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LibLink: Edward McMillan-Scott on Ai Weiwei

During the week, Liberal Democrat MEP Edward McMillan-Scott used the pages of The Guardian to take up the case of Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei:

With the world’s attention on the uprisings in the Middle East, Chinese authorities are reacting to the widespread rumblings since mid-February, when a “jasmine revolution” was called across China, and a few brave souls dared to express their protest.

Ai, who is best known for creating the sunflower seed installation in London’s Tate Modern and his work on Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium, is the highest-profile victim in the heavy-handed suppression of political dissidents by Chinese officials…

In the

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Chris Rennard writes… Liu Xiaobo needs to know people in Britain are appalled

I have succeeded in tabling a topical question for the House of Lords tomorrow:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, and if so how, they will raise concerns about the imprisonment of the Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo during the Prime-Minister’s visit to China.

This follows me raising the issue on the World at One and in the Guardian because my view is that doing good business in not incompatible with publicly calling for respect for human rights and freedom of speech.

Liu Xiaobo needs to know that people in Britain are appalled that he was sent …

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Cameron admits foreign policy gaffe, mis-speaks that “Iran has got a nuclear weapon.”

There will be red faces in Number 10 tonight after the latest foreign policy gaffe from David Cameron. Speaking today at his one of his PM Direct events, the Conservative leader stuck up for Turkey’s application to join the EU, stating it would be able to help Europe address a number of issues:

I think be a good political influence because they can help us solve some of the world’s problems like the Middle East peace process, like the fact Iran has got a nuclear weapon.”

Except Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon. His advisors later clarified that Mr Cameron …

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Opinion: Reflections on UK-China relations under the new Lib Con Coalition Government

The Coalition Agreement stated under paragraph 15 on Foreign Affairs that, “We will work to establish a new ‘special relationship’ with India and seek closer engagement with China, while standing firm on human rights in all our bilateral relationships.”

Labour commentators have speculated that by making a distinction in UK’s relationship with the two Asian giants, India and China, the Coalition may be seeking to pitch one against the other.

I disagree and believe this careful choice of words was used to encapsulate the different historical links UK has had with these two countries and to point the way forwards.

India …

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Opinion: Free Zone Revolution

In New Labour’s puerile and patronising ‘Animated Manifesto Film’ their first pledge is the desire to instigate a ‘new industrial revolution’. This is followed by no explanation whatsoever as to how precisely they are going to do this. If you look deeper, however, the reality is damning. It is an acknowledgement that after 13 years of power many urban areas, especially in the North of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and South Wales, are still experiencing crippling poverty and high unemployment.

The LibDems go one better; they at least acknowledge a truth that policy to tackle the state of the …

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Opinion: Cameron’s Gaffe – is China a nuclear threat to the UK?

During the big debate, David Cameron slipped up when pushed by Nick Clegg on the Trident nuclear missile fleet.

I will keep our independent nuclear defence system, said Cameron – forgetting for a moment that Trident is a dual-key with the Americans, it can’t ever be fired without their agreement, and we are totally beholden to them, despite spending the money with them in the first place. But Cameron added:

Are we really happy to say that we’d give up our independent nuclear deterrent when we don’t know what is going to happen with Iran, we can’t be certain of the

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Daily View 2×2: 29 December 2009

May I be the first to wish you, “Happy That Bit Between Christmas and New Year.”

Whether you’re at work, at home, working from home, or none of the above, here’s your Daily View for Tuesday:

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of William Ewart Gladstone, Liberal statesman and four-times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. (By the way, remember to nominate your Liberal Voice of 2009 here.)

It’s also 34 years since the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts came into force, legislation which now faces overdue modernisation and streamlining by the Equality Bill.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that caught my eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Cameron’s potted plants underline the difference. Peter Black’s post (a late contender for my favourite blog post title of 2009) features a video of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Tory candidate for North East Somerset, “a key Conservative candidate who reflects the views of many in his party that he is a member of the ruling class with a God-given right to be in Government and that as far as he is concerned the rest of us are just potted plants.”
  • Is photography the new crime? Andrew Reeves takes a photo of the police taking a photo of the protesters.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Fury as China executes British drug smuggler

China was this morning condemned for its human rights record after a British man who, his supporters say, had mental health problems, was executed for smuggling drugs.

Akmal Shaikh, 53, was shot dead by a firing squad at 10.30am local time (2.30am British time) after frantic last-minute pleas for clemency by the Foreign Office failed.

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Daily View 2×2: 13 December 2009

It’s Sunday. It’s 7am. It’s time for feline table tennis, but first the blogs and news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Untouchable: Blair to give Iraq War evidence in secret

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CommentIsLinked@LDV: Vince Cable – Keep an eye on the dapper, shy man at the back

With apologies for missing this yesterday – that’ll teach me not to pay my daily homage to that fount of reactionary, fact-free unpleasantness, the Daily Mail website – but the Lib Dems’ deputy leader Vince Cable was performing the remarkable feat of inserting some common sense perspective into the paper, writing about the growing importance of China to the world’s financial affairs. Here’s an excerpt:

China now has the second biggest economy in the world, based on purchasing power, and India the fourth (Britain is battling it out for sixth place with France). This new industrial revolution is not a pretty

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    Matthew Huntbach Giles Fraser is spot on. Anti-politics protest and nihilist figures like Brand do undermine politics and contribute to a cynicism and lack of...
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    salmond recently referred to "the westminster mess". Why dont we remind him that the major factor in the banking crisis was the collapse of the...
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    Helen Tedcastle So I don’t think it is entirely fair to condemn protest movements which are essentially spawned by the failure of political leadership and...
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    One of the obvious conclusions is that the approach that Paddy and his friends and the EU was keen to push didn't actually address the...
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    Paul in Wokingham says, "And I have little idea of what Liberal Democrats stand for. We have this anodyne message about fairer/stronger economy/society that means...