Iain Duncan Smith among senior Tories are urging the government to review their relations with China in the backdrop of alleged cover up on the Covid-19 pandemic.
China imposed 80 per cent tariff on barley from Australia. This is prompting the allies in the West to react. The China Research Group, based on the influential European Research Group of Tory Brexiteer MPs, seeks to restrict Beijing’s growing influence in the UK.
There has been concerned about Chinese telecoms manufacturer Huawei playing a role in the building of the UK’s 5G network, as well as with the building of new nuclear power plants.
Conservative civil libertarians are challenging the communist state’s credentials on civil liberties and freedom of expression. Eco warriors are worried about the green credentials and the welfare of animals. Carrie Symonds, the prime minister’s fiancée, is among those who signed a petition calling for wet markets to be banned.
Human right activists are worried about the Umbrella marchers and the Muslims at Uyghur.
Tom Tugendhat, the chair the group, said allegations about the Chinese government’s actions over the coronavirus had underlined an “urgent need for a better understanding of China’s place in the world” and how the UK government views it.
“Beijing’s long pattern of information suppression has contributed to the unfolding crisis. The [Chinese communist] party are now using the current emergency to build influence around the world.
“Along with our allies, we must be part of this global conversation, and to begin it we need to understand what China’s leaders are saying and doing.”
MPs on the committee include former de facto deputy prime minister Damian Green, Andrew Bowie – formerly Theresa May’s parliamentary secretary – and new Tory MPs from the 2019 intake. They include Laura Trott, Dehenna Davison, Alcia Kearns, and Anthony Browne.
Meanwhile, China says US is trying to shift blame and smear Beijing over WHO.
China has said the United States was trying to shift the blame for Washington’s own mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis, responding to President Donald Trump’s letter threatening to halt funding to the WHO.
Trump threatened on Monday to reconsider the United States’ membership of the WHO if the organisation did not commit to improvements within 30 days, and said the body had shown an “alarming lack of independence” from China.
Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that the United States was trying to smear China and had miscalculated by trying to use China to avoid its own responsibility.
The Donald Trump administration on has accused the Xi Jinping government of stealing Covid-19-related research from the US, indicating further deterioration in their bilateral relationship between the US and China.
In a scathing attack on Beijing, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late on Thursday tweeted that China, “the country where the virus originated and the pandemic was allowed to spread,” has refused to share information to help the world combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Instead PRC-affiliated actors are trying to steal COVID-related research from the United States,” he tweeted while warning the People’s Republic of China “to cease this malicious activity.”
Adding further salt to China’s injury, Pompeo said that the US welcomes Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) “intention to invest $12B in the most advanced 5-nanometer semiconductor fabrication foundry in the world”.
This deal, he tweeted, “bolsters U.S. national security at a time when China is trying to dominate cutting-edge tech and control critical industries”.
Meanwhile, the US has been continually building up military pressure on China. In the last few weeks, US Navy ships and Air Force B-1 bombers have undertaken missions to the region as a response to China’s attempts to flex its muscle in the South China Sea.
The US Navy Pacific Fleet on Wednesday announced that all its submarines in the region are at sea conducting operations “in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region amidst the pandemic caused by the coronavirus”.