TORY Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s latest attack on China – suspending the UKs extradition treaty with the country, was supported by all Parties, turning Britain into a one-party state.
Raab told Parliament yesterday: ‘I have consulted with the Home Secretary, the Justice Secretary and the Attorney General, and the government has decided to suspend the extradition treaty immediately.
‘And I shall also tell the House that we would not consider reactivating those arrangements unless and until there are clear and robust safeguards under the new National Security Legislation.’
Raab announced two further measures: ‘The Home Secretary has given Border Force officers the ability to grant leave to BNOs (British National Overseas passport holders) and their accompanying dependants at the borders.
‘Given the role that China has now assumed for the internal security of Hong Kong and the authority it has exerted over law enforcement, the UK will extend to Hong Kong the arms embargo that we have applied to mainland China since 1989.’
Immediately, both the Labourites and the Scottish Nationalists rushed to support the Tory attack on China.
Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy responded: ‘We strongly welcome both of the measures today’. She went on to urge the Tories to go further and ‘suspend the training of the Hong Kong police by the Royal College of Policing and other UK police forces’.
Alyn Smith of the SNP said that he agreed with sanctions and demanded that action should be taken faster.
He also asked if there is any analysis of whether there are implications of having ‘so many Chinese students in British universities, both financially and from a security aspect.’
Last week PM Johnson announced the UK government’s decision to ban Chinese technology giant Huawei’s 5G network in Britain. Shortly afterwards, US President Donald Trump claimed he was responsible for the decision.
However, the UK is skating on the thinnest of ice because if China pulls its investment from UK infrastructure, multiple projects will be threatened with collapse.
State-owned China General Nuclear has agreed to invest a total of £6 billion in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, without which the UK faces power blackouts by 2025.
Hong Kong’s MTR runs the London’s TfL Rail service and has a 30% stake in South Western Railway.
Meanwhile, some of the UK’s biggest companies on the world stage, like Jaguar Land Rover, BP and GlaxoSmithKline, all rely on Chinese trade.
UK universities rely on Chinese students for as much as a fifth of their income and there are currently 120,000 Chinese students studying here. International students’ fees range from £10,000-£20,000 a year.
The University of Liverpool relies on Chinese students for 29 per cent of its tuition fees, making an estimated £89m in income from them.
University College London tops the list as the university taking in the most income from Chinese students at £127 million, followed by the University of Manchester at £110 million.
The University of Sheffield has 26% of its total tuition income paid by Chinese students, while Imperial College London’s is 23%.
Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said: ‘Not only are university finances threatened by the withdrawal of Chinese investment, it also means they would struggle to pay for research, which is a fundamental part of what makes our universities so attractive.’
Meanwhile, China has said it will respond in kind to any attempt by Britain to slap sanctions on Chinese officials, with Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to London, threatening: ‘If the UK government goes that far to impose sanctions on any individual in China, China will certainly give a resolute response to it.
‘You’ve seen what happens in the United States – they sanction Chinese officials, we sanction their senators, their officials. I do not want to see this tit-for-tat happen in … China-UK relations.’