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

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 1:59 pm on 16th March 2023.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham 1:59 pm, 16th March 2023

I will approach my peroration forthwith on that basis.

I will not mention Jimmy Lai because, again, the hon. Member for Strangford mentioned him. He also mentioned at length the Confucius Institutes, an example of how the tentacles of the Chinese Communist party extend everywhere—globally and within the UK in our boardrooms, businesses, schools, campuses, local authorities and in the bogus police stations, effectively, that China has set up. There was the disgraceful episode at the Manchester consulate, where the consul thought it was his job to beat up demonstrators. There was no pretence to try to get out of it. Is that not what he was there for? Is that not what the Chinese Communist party pays him to do? Never has a greater or more honest admission come from an official of the Chinese Government.

Internationally, what is China doing as part of the China 2049 plan? It controls something like 104 ports and has its teeth in infrastructure projects around the world. It effectively holds Governments to ransom, with huge loans imposed on them. We know what has happened with the port in Sri Lanka, the airport in Uganda and some of the schemes that have fallen to pieces. It places huge debts on many east African countries in particular, which is the real characteristic of the belt and road project. China has a stranglehold on rare earth mining, controlling 58% of critical minerals mining and 73% of the global production capacity for lithium, which goes into lithium-ion batteries and is crucial for anti-climate change measures relating to renewable and environmentally friendly sources of energy. I could go on—