The prevailing mood now in Europe is to view China through a security and human rights lens rather than the trade and investment approach of the past 20 years. This has been heavily influenced by the policy of successive US administrations. People make a big mistake thinking geopolitical American policy always changes with a new administration. Not having Trump tweeting at 6am is a relief, but Joe Biden is going to be as hardline over security issues and relations with China as his predecessor. For better or worse in the UK, and to a lesser extent across the EU, having diverged for a decade, driven by the prospect of more limited access to intelligence ties, we have now decided to align ourselves more closely with US policy towards China. The UK’s recent National Security and Investment Act which identifies 17 sensitive sectors, including AI and quantum computing technologies where government can block investment transactions is a close imitation of CFIUS. So, for UK corporate investors in particular there is a new tension between investment and national security. With the new legislation and dynamics around trade, businesses will have to be politically advertent. They will have to look at whether the sector they seek investment in or to invest in in partnership with overseas investors is potentially sensitive.
Globally repatriation of supply chains will become an issue. These things ebb and flow. Over the 20th century, they expanded, shrank and expanded again. But, especially as a result of Brexit, the pandemic and people’s understanding of how the vaccinations were manufactured – and as a result of our new, much poorer relationship with China – repatriation is going to be an imperative. Going forward the best way of engaging with China and Chinese investment will be to avoid sourcing from sensitive provinces, not dealing with issues that could give rise to the sort of national infrastructure security concerns that Huawei did, and engaging positively over the essential global areas for cooperation such as the UN sustainable development goals and climate change. If we don’t, we won’t see net zero by 2050. China isn’t going to disappear as an important economic powerhouse and trading and investment partner. But we need to pick and choose where we trade and cooperate. And in this climate that will require good navigation skills.
Lord Clement-Jones CBE, Member House of Lords. Speaker on AI, Digital, and Creative Industries | UK, China, US and Middle East
While the temperature of UK-China relations has become cooler over the last year, in at least one area the UK continues to be highly attractive to many Chinese: education. Over the past five years, numbers of Chinese students have risen by 34 per cent: today there are around 120,000. These numbers are, of course, good financially for a sector that has been badly hit by the pandemic. But they have a greater long-term significance as well. The young Chinese who study in Britain will be tomorrow’s leaders in business, education and media. We should be wary of assuming a cause-and-effect relationship: studying in a liberal society does not automatically turn you liberal, any more than the (much smaller) number of students from the UK studying in China suddenly evince a desire to download the CCP membership app on their phones. But the longer-term effects are important. Today’s top Chinese party leaders are from the last generation that mostly did not have significant overseas experience (as opposed to many business leaders). That could be much less true of the generations to come. As long as the welcome they receive in Britain continues to be a warm one, that connection will have power in ways that are currently hard to predict.
The presence of Chinese students in the UK also provides another important lesson. It gives the UK higher education sector a chance to show that there are some values that are central to what British universities do, and are not negotiable. These include free and open debate on all subjects, including China itself. Academic freedom is the ingredient that has enabled British scholars, students and professors alike, to create a globally-respected system despite continual funding crises and increasing bureaucratization. I have yet to meet Chinese students who did not value the multiplicity of views that they hear in the UK system. Chinese parents clearly like what it produces, even if they have little idea of what goes on in the seminar room; after all, they are usually the ones paying. We need more British students to go the other way – for instance, the government’s new Turing Scheme could be funded to allow attendance at Chinese universities. Then, China must do more to make it clear that it welcomes genuine debate, the lifeblood of all education. Both sides have work to do.
Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China; Former Director of the University of Oxford China Centre; Fellow of St Cross College
“Global Britain” is a meaningless proposition without a sensible China engagement strategy. To assist in the formulation of such a strategy I would propose setting some principles to the relationship. These include acknowledging that both countries wish to work with each other but accepting they will not see eye to eye on all matters, and that they should reach an understanding of how such matters are dealt with and resolved. Use common areas of agreement (e.g. climate, health, biodiversity) to forge strong areas of collaboration and dial down the megaphone rhetoric. Discuss contentious matters in private and ensure there are regular multi-layered channels of communication. We should recognise that business between the countries is deeply entwined and that the trend of bilateral business engagement is growing. At the same time, be sensitive to the other’s domestic concerns. Being competitive with each other can co-exist with working in partnership on mutually important issues. Finally, both sides must appreciate that for a good trading relationship to flourish, they need to commit to finding solutions and compromises, which will allow relations to move forward.
Translating the principles into specifics, both countries should restart regular bilateral meetings such as the Economic Dialogue and JETCO and further, the respective senior officials should commence to visit each other’s countries to update their knowledge, so that their understanding is based on reality and not an out-of-date perception. For China, it should significantly increase the flow of information about China to the UK, as China should not assume that there is a good degree of understanding within the UK and additionally, China should create a strategy which illustrates to the people of the UK both the substantial changes that are taking place in many areas in China (including technology, infrastructure and how people live) and its rich cultural history. For the UK, the challenge is more fundamental as it needs to create a vision of how Global Britain should work with China and ensure that once determined, Ministers speak with one consistent voice and do not send contradictory signals. In conclusion, whilst there have been challenging times over the last 20 years, bilateral trade has continued to grow and I am sure that with open dialogue and learning from each other, we have the foundations for a truly “Global Britain”.
John McLean OBE is a businessman who has been working with China for over 20 years. He is Chair of the Institute of Directors for The City of London and was formerly on the board of the CBBC (China Britain Business Council).
Actors in China and the UK could enable constructive relations by emphasising strategies that take relationships to be the fundamental building-blocks of the world. Such a stance is not naïve or utopian – it can be a concrete tool to shake up stale approaches to global challenges. A relational approach complements dominant viewpoints that treat the world as though it consisted of separate things – like states, civilizations, or individuals – that first exist independently and then interact. If you take relations as the point of departure, states, civilizations, and individual identities are understood instead as temporary effects of relationships. Such a worldview is illustrated in the Daoist yin-yang diagram, where a light half and a dark half together form a circle, in such a way that light and dark constitute and complement one another, include one another, and can change into one another. Its ethos resonates strongly with thinking associated with ‘the West’, with critical proponents in the UK, not least in discussions about environmental interdependence, pandemic connectivity, planetary ‘butterfly effects’, and possible ethics of care.
Such relational thinking can enable constructive relationships in several ways. First, any characteristics ascribed to these identities-as-effects are partial and context dependent. For example, it doesn’t make sense for UK actors to label China as being or not being a responsible great power. Instead, we see how claims about responsibility and irresponsibility are deployed in specific relationships, in order to shape these by facilitating behavioural change. Removing retrenched positions and labels encourages constructive exchange. Second, a relational approach highlights how relations and their effects can embody one quality and its opposite simultaneously. UK or Chinese foreign policy, for example, is not benevolently caring OR selfishly controlling, but simultaneously both. As such, President Xi can suggest in one relational performance that controlling state behaviour is a form of care, including towards ethnic minorities and overseas communities. In a different relationship he can argue that the best way for China to care for the world is to take responsibility for itself, including in balancing development and emissions. These narratives only make sense as actions deployed in specific relationships in order to shape those relationships. Most importantly, recognising fundamental interdependence encourages humility about one’s own position. It calls for joint responsibility for what is shared.
Professor Astrid Nordin is Lau Chair of Chinese International Relations at the Lau China Institute, King’s College London, United Kingdom.
The immaculate showmanship of the G7 meeting failed to hide the lack of substance whether on vaccines, climate change or resetting relations with China. However, it did expose the absence of any clear geopolitical strategy for a country caught between dependence on the USA and an increasingly hostile post-Brexit Europe. The recently published “integrated review” reflects the belief that the UK maintains its standing and influence in the world and heralds a new commitment to the Indo Pacific but has little to say about Europe and the marketplace that Britain has exited. A grand vison to become a “science and technology superpower” is proclaimed, but no detailed roadmap provided. Hence this attempt to promote a role for a “Global Britain”, instead of focusing on markets of real value to our national interest, increasingly looks like a narcissistic delusion.
Perhaps Johnson and Raab look for inspiration to the era of Castlereagh and Canning, who forged policies which protected British sovereignty and independence against an autocratic Empire and the holy Alliance. Their primary concern was to protect Britain from invasion and advance British interests. To achieve this, they deployed their diplomatic skills to maintain a balance of powers between the contending states of Continental Europe. While the Europeans had to deal with revolutionary and nationalistic movements, Britain could focus on maritime security and opening overseas markets through colonial expansion. Today’s globalised trading environment, however, poses quite different challenges. The colonies have gone, the Commonwealth is economically insignificant, and the major growth markets are now in Asia, and China in particular. Surely British politicians should focus on the challenge of restoring prosperity by prioritizing access to those markets and heed Canning’s principle that: “No state has the right to interfere in the domestic political system of another”. How much more productive to craft a diplomacy which focuses on the national interest rather than grandstanding with the pretence that Britain still has the power and influence of yesteryear. If Britain really aspires to peaceful multilateral cooperation, then it should apply its undoubted diplomatic skills to support a new balance of powers which prevents the emergence of a new hegemon and focus on critical challenges to the international order: climate change and environmental degradation, poverty and terrorism, where Britain has invaluable contributions to make rather than subordinating our foreign policy to the interests of any external power.
克莱门特-琼斯勋爵 (Tim Clement-Jones)
现在欧洲的普遍情绪是从安全和人权的角度看待中国，而非过去 20 年的贸易和投资方式角度。 这在很大程度上受到了美国历届政府政策的影响。 人们错误地认为美国的地缘政治政策总是随着新政府的到来而改变。 没有特朗普在早上 6 点发推文是一种解脱，但乔拜登在安全问题和与中国的关系上将像他的前任一样强硬。 无论英国是好是坏，以及在欧盟范围内，由于获取情报关系的可能性更有限，我们的分歧已持续了十年，现在我们决定更紧密地与美国对华政策保持一致。 英国最近颁布的《国家安全和投资法案》(National Security and Investment Act)确定了包括政府可以阻止 的17 个敏感部门，其中包括人工智能和量子计算技术，这与CFIUS 的做法十分相似。 因此，尤其是对于英国企业投资者而言，投资与国家安全之间出现了一种新的紧张关系。 随着围绕贸易的新立法和动态，企业不得不在政治上谨慎。 他们必须考虑寻求的投资或与海外投资者合作投资的行业是否具有潜在的敏感性。
供应链的全球遣返将成为一个问题。 而供应链的发展有起有伏。 在 20 世纪，它们先扩张然后收缩，再扩张。 但是，特别是由于英国退欧、疫情和人们对疫苗制造方式的理解——以及我们与中国的新关系变得更糟糕——遣返将是当务之急。 未来与中国接触和中国投资的最佳方式将是避免从敏感省份采购，而不是处理可能引起华为那种国家基础设施安全担忧的问题，并积极参与联合国可持续发展目标和气候变化等重要的全球合作领域。 如果我们不这样做，到 2050 年我们将不会看到净零排放。中国作为一个重要的经济强国、贸易和投资伙伴的地位不会消失。 但我们需要选择贸易和合作的领域。在这种情况下，我们需要良好的导航技能。
克莱门特-琼斯勋爵 CBE(Lord Clement-Jones CB), 上议院议员。 人工智能、数字和创意产业演讲者 | 英国、中国、美国和中东
虽然英中关系在过去一年有所降温，但之前在一个领域内，英国对许多中国人仍具有高度吸引力：教育。 在过去五年中，中国留学生的数量增加了 34%：目前大约有 120,000 人。 当然，对于一个受到疫情严重打击的行业来说，这些数据从财务角度看是有利的。 但它们也具有更长远的意义。 在英国留学的中国年轻人将成为未来商业、教育和媒体领域的领导者。 我们应该谨慎假设一种因果关系：在一个自由社会学习并不会自然地使人成为自由主义者，正如在中国学习的英国学生（数量少得多）并不会突然想在手机上下载中国共产党会员应用程序。 但长期影响很重要。 今天的中国最高领导人来自上一代，他们大多没有丰富的海外经验（与许多商界领袖相反)。但对于未来几代人来说，情况可能就不一样了。 只要他们在英国继续收到热情的对待，这种联系就会以目前难以预测的方式发挥作用。
中国学生在英国的存在也提供了另一个重要经验。它让英国高等教育部门有机会表明，有些价值观对英国大学的工作重要性是不可置疑的。这包括对所有主题(包括中国本身)进行自由和公开的辩论。学术自由是使英国学者、学生和教授等人能够在持续的资金危机和日益官僚化的情况下创建一个受全球尊重的系统的因素。 我还没有遇到过不重视在英国系统中听到的多元化观点的中国学生。 即使中国父母对课堂上发生的事情一无所知，他们显然喜欢多元化教育群产生的东西；毕竟，父母通常是付钱的人。 我们需要更多的英国学生走另一条路——例如，可以资助政府的新图灵计划，以允许英国学生就读中国大学。 那么，中国必须做更多的事情来表明它欢迎真正的辩论，这是所有教育的命脉。 而中英双方都有工作要做。
拉纳·米特 (Rana Mitter) 是近代中国历史与政治学教授； 前牛津大学中国中心主任； 圣十字学院院士
约翰 麦克莱恩(John McLean)
如果没有合适的中国接触战略，“全球英国”将是一个毫无意义的命题。 为了协助制定这样的战略，我建议为这种关系设定一些原则。这包括承认两国都希望与对方合作，但也承认他们不会在所有问题上意见一致，并且他们应该就如何处理和解决这些问题达成共识。 使用共同的共识领域（例如气候、健康、生物多样性）来打造强有力的合作领域并减少夸夸其谈。 私下讨论有争议的问题，并确保有定期的多层次沟通渠道。 我们应该认识到，两国经贸关系密切，双边经贸往来呈增长趋势。 同时，要对对方的国内问题保持敏感。 相互竞争可以与在相互重要的问题上的合作共存。 最后，双方必须认识到，为了使良好的贸易关系蓬勃发展，双方需要致力于寻找解决方案和妥协，这将使关系向前发展。
将选择转化为具体内容，双方应重启双边会议如经济对话和银通，以及更进一步，双方的高级官员应开始互访对方国家，更新认知，使他们的理解基于现实而不是基于过时的认知。 对中国来说，它应该显着增加有关中国向英国的信息流向，因为中国不应该假设英国内部对中国有很好的理解。此外，中国应该制定一个战略，向英国人民展示中国在许多领域正在发生的重大变化（包括技术、基础设施和人们的生活方式）及其丰富的文化历史。 对英国来说，挑战更为根本，因为它需要制定一个愿景，即”全球化英国”应如何与中国合作，并确保部长们一旦做出决定，就会达成一致，而不是发出相互矛盾的信号。 总之，尽管在过去 20 年中经历了充满挑战的时期，但双边贸易仍在继续增长，我相信通过公开对话和相互学习，我们为真正的“全球化英国”奠定了基础。
约翰 麦克莱恩 (John McLean) OBE 是一位与中国合作超过 20 年的商人。 他是伦敦金融城董事协会主席，曾任英中贸易协会（CBBC）董事会成员。
阿斯特丽德·诺丁 (Astrid Nordin)
在中英两国的活跃分子可以通过强调将关系视为世界基本基石的战略来促进建设性关系。这种立场并非天真或乌托邦式的——它可以成为改变应对全球挑战的陈旧方法的具体工具。 关系方法是主流观点的补充，这些观点将世界视为由独立的事物（如国家、文明或个人）组成，这些事物首先独立存在然后相互作用。 如果将关系作为出发点，那么国家、文明和个人身份就会被理解为关系的暂时性影响。 这样的世界观，在道家的阴阳图上就体现出来了，明半暗组成一个圆圈，明暗相辅相成，相得益彰，又可以相互转化。它的精神与与“西方”相关的思想产生强烈共鸣，与英国的批评支持者产生强烈共鸣，尤其是在关于环境相互依存、流行病连通性、行星“蝴蝶效应”和可能的护理伦理的讨论中。
这种关系思维可以在多个方面促成建设性关系。 首先，归因于这些身份效应的任何特征都是局部的和上下文相关的。 例如，英国人给中国贴上负责任大国或不负责任大国的标签是没有意义的。 相反，我们要看到有关责任和不负责任的主张如何在特定关系中展开，以便通过促进行为改变来塑造这些关系。裁员和标签的去除能鼓励建设性的交流。 其次，关系方法强调关系及其影响如何同时体现一种品质及其对立面。 例如，英国或中国的外交政策不是仁慈的关心或自私的控制，而是两者兼而有之。 因此，习主席可以在一个关系表演中暗示控制国家行为是一种关怀，包括对少数民族和海外社区的关怀。 在另一种关系中，他可以争辩说，中国关心世界的最佳方式是对自己负责，包括平衡发展和排放。 这些叙述只有在为了塑造这些关系而部署在特定关系中的行动时才有意义。 最重要的是，认识到基本的相互依赖会鼓励人们对自己的立场保持谦逊。 它要求对共享的事物承担共同责任。
阿斯特丽德·诺丁教授(Astrid Nordin) 是英国伦敦国王学院刘中国研究所中国国际关系刘主席。
无论是在疫苗、气候变化还是与中国重新建立关系方面，G7 会议的完美表演都未能掩盖实质内容的缺乏。 然而，它确实暴露了一个国家在依赖美国和英国退欧后日益敌对的欧洲之间缺乏任何明确的地缘政治战略。 最近发表的“综合评论”反映了这样一种信念，即英国保持其在世界上的地位和影响力，预示着对印度太平洋地区的新承诺，但对英国退出的欧洲和市场几乎没有什么可说的。 宣扬成为“科技超级大国”的宏伟愿景，但没有提供详细的路线图。 因此，这种试图促进“全球英国”的作用，而不是专注于对我们国家利益具有真正价值的市场，越来越像是一种自恋的妄想。
或许约翰逊和拉布在寻找卡斯尔雷和坎宁时代的灵感，他们制定了保护英国主权和独立免受专制帝国和神圣联盟侵害的政策。 他们的首要任务是保护英国免遭入侵并推进英国的利益。 为了实现这一目标，他们运用外交技巧来维持欧洲大陆竞争国家之间的权力平衡。 当欧洲人不得不应对革命和民族主义运动时，英国可以通过殖民扩张专注于海上安全和开放海外市场。 然而，当今全球化的贸易环境带来了截然不同的挑战。 殖民地消失了，英联邦在经济上微不足道，主要的增长市场现在在亚洲，尤其是中国。 当然，英国政客应该通过优先进入这些市场来关注恢复繁荣的挑战，并注意坎宁的原则：“任何国家都无权干涉另一个国家的国内政治体系”。 制定一项专注于国家利益而不是假装英国仍然拥有昔日权力和影响力的哗众取宠的外交会更有成效。 如果英国真的渴望和平的多边合作，那么它应该运用其毋庸置疑的外交技巧来支持新的力量平衡，以防止新霸权的出现，并关注国际秩序面临的关键挑战：气候变化和环境退化、贫困和 恐怖主义，英国可以做出宝贵的贡献，而不是让我们的外交政策从属于任何外部势力的利益。