Relations with China: Xi Jinping Presidency — [Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 16th March 2023.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 1:30 pm, 16th March 2023

I certainly do and I very much welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement this week of the submarine deal between the UK, USA and Australia. That shows that there is a commitment, although of course we probably want to see much more than that. The hon. Lady is absolutely right and I thank her for that intervention.

If we think that things are bad now, imagine the pain that will be inflicted on the UK and the world when—I use these words carefully—China invades Taiwan. Hon. Members will note that I said “when” rather than “if” China moves to take Taiwan. Xi Jinping has reaffirmed his commitment to communist Chinese rule of Taiwan, by force—his words—if necessary.

We cannot fall asleep at the wheel while getting lulled to sleep by the comfort of investments, trade, and cash flows. We should begin the careful process of reducing our reliance on Chinese-made goods and products right now. Let us start taking a careful look at where British businesses invest and give them warnings that contracts and treaties may not be upheld, and to be careful about where they invest their money.

Let us start speaking up for those who are being oppressed in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet. Let us get British citizen Jimmy Lai out of prison and let us not ponder solely on how China might react, but instead give China pause for thought about what it might lose by not working with the United Kingdom.

I believe in good relations; I also believe in doing what is right, as we all do in this Chamber. I know that there is a balance to be struck.