For China to invest in Britain, we need to reach out

Joel Mullan

This will be the Asian century – defined as much by decisions made by the machinery of government in Beijing or the enterprises of the Pearl River Delta as the last century was by decisions made by the White House and the big US corporations. But are British people ready to reach out and build relationships with the world’s biggest global players?

As the political, economic and cultural power of the Asian economies continue to grow, this seismic shift is too important for discussion to be confined to the foreign policy elite. It will have on-the-ground implications for people up and down Britain. British jobs stand to be destroyed, and others created, through investment decisions while increased competition for scarce resources carries great implications for the cost of living in our country.

Experts predict that China will be the world’s largest economy by 2016. Speaking to the New Statesman last summer, Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs, coiner of the BRICs list of emerging economies, said that if he were creating the term today it would simply be ‘C’. In some countries China’s presence is already game-changing, with its immense thirst for resources having a real impact. Australia’s current export boom has come largely off the back of Chinese demand, while there are growing numbers of investment and resource-exploration relationships between China and African governments – most notably in Sudan.

The challenge now will be for the UK to strengthen our bilateral relationship with China. But as Liam Byrne details at length in his recent book Turning to face the east, Britain has some way to go if it is to respond effectively and engage constructively with the rise of China.

The first challenge is one of building knowledge and understanding. There is generally a low level of awareness of Chinese culture, politics and society amongst young people, and indeed among Britons more generally, even among those who are politically engaged.

In part this stems from lack of exposure to information about China. Coverage of Chinese politics and economics in British newspapers is nowhere near as extensive as that devoted to the United States or our European neighbours.

Nor are many schoolchildren offered an opportunity to develop an understanding. British Council research published last year suggest that only 9 per cent of secondary schools offer the opportunity to study Mandarin, a state of affairs that has led to warnings that we are risking our long-term competitiveness.

In parliament, debate on issues related to China is becoming more prevalent, but analysis of Hansard figures for the period March 2013 to March 2014 indicates that France is discussed twice as often as China, and Germany almost three times as often.

Recent YouGov polling suggests that this relative detachment is not reciprocated in China. That study, found that 92 per cent of Chinese respondents believed it was important for the UK and China to have a close relationship. The same study also identified generational differences – with younger Chinese more optimistic about the UK’s future than their older peers.

We need to make more effort to position ourselves in preparation for the Asian century. Relationships need to be forged and strengthened – and organisations across politics and civil society all have a part to play.

In this spirit, next month the Young Fabians will embark on a year-long programme designed to develop our members’ knowledge and understanding of China, and the political, economic, social and cultural trends that are shaping it.  As the next generation of young Chinese leaders come of age, we will look to further explore the shifts in their perspective and outlook, and try to build links and dialogue.

Joel Mullan is the Young Fabians International Officer.

The Young Fabians China Programme will be launched at the London School of Economics on Tuesday 8th April.Speakers include Rt. Hon. Liam Byrne MP and Zhang Jiming, Minister Counsellor from the Chinese Embassy, London.  More information can be found here. 


  1. John Jennings

    China is going to rely on borrowing to develope it’s domestic market. The problem then stems from an economic one to a political problem of the increased representation that will come from raised standards of living people take education and apetite for unstructured slow stable reform of Chinese credability and lawful markets and ability to demonstrate an ability to pay in full on time it’s treasure issued fixed income comittment that will fuel China’s rise and the ecological demanding and resourse hungry China will eith learch towards nationalistic and agressive ambitions to monopolise and enslave the global markets with it’s own domestic world economic engine through domestic markets alone. When China is leading economies it will need rule of equitable democratic independent judiciary and fair and reliable laws set by a legislative executive who are independent in diverse from the practitioners who descide the law to wear like a mitten but with a equitable and binding practioners hear case by case but are the impkimenters or practitioners not accoutable in the same way legislative inspiratora are. The practitioner make the kaw fit from a mit to a sewn glovend. If china has foreign capital populate and capitalises it’s libral capatalistic markets then the Chinese government backed securities as well as it’s currency will be able to form a proportional percentage of the reseve basket for coutry to be justifyabley safer to invest and trust and assurance shown that balance of payments will be a surplus and only a sourse of comodities or Science and inovation design and engineering and financial and economic knowledge will china invest at all in the areas the suit it need and it will protect it’s own markets by either buying or destoroying competition. China will be producing debt with a currency floating FX marketproducers with a strong domestic demand but inflation will reduce competative and productivity of the power of which shoulf be seen our duty to be working on improving as in investor in our industries that add value and will suceed by democratic capitalisation from smaller banks redesigned to add liquidity and risk hedging so commerce is in service to industry. Added value enterprise is our need we need to do some work rather than servifing off bubbles of speculative finance that adds no value and cetainly is not the breading ground for small banks to be at the service of local enterprise and certainly not to big to fail but are capitalised slowly with earnt capital over 25 years of reform instead of revision for social capital or the dangerous notion of social and economic markets such imigration and employment will backfire in the demand for an end to freedom of work rights with out boarders. The most enterprising will be free to chose there best options for the creation of wealth by addes value and a rebalancing of the econony using a living wage will. democratisation and representation of so many productive aspirational and economicaly will drive demand nation of saving from earnings but with no satisfactory paralell standard of living is simmering and the enevitable economic result of full employment but the conflict waiting to happen as the phosphrous for fertalisers, calbolt and gemainium for our micro processors and digital technology means the Chinese governmet must start to think about sensorship and control on new elete in Shang Hi accessing the only copper deposit likely to lower the price of copper futures contract is to be mined and exstracted 100metres under there continental sea shelf and just up the road Southampton University world leading marine scientist are in a perfect global leading position to be at the centre of mining of resourses from the ocean and sea beds. Coal is China’s power carbohydron of choice and since the end of the last milenium Shell and other major energy players have been panicking and pushing for ways to reduce the emissions from China’s coal electricity stations and china’s suicide scandal is that it’s impossible steaming ahead with the nemesis of cost of living is when the Chinese think that now it their turn to have two cars per family and now many parents the examoles of only child families are now paying their extra savings on having two children but there still exists in China a crisis of care for the decades where two parents produced a single responsible desebdent but with two parents to care for and provide housing and resourses caring for can now have two children. China’s staggering consumpition for hard and soft comodities is stimulating exports to China a need satisfying and with that added value it creates it tries to dominate both the the foreign exporting suply by purchasing the production means to feed it’s domestic demand of the manuracturing to buy up many good industries undervalued and at risk of globalisation will see a revale and strategic treasury aquisitions of industries too big to fail, too important to the british economy to be open to in unreliable or under regulated robbery of the population or amount of capital needed to invest in the railway business to be spread more nominaly over the whole of a less appropriated to particular projects but the shere cost of HS2 in the opoertunity loss to the akternative spread of that HS2 over the whole rail upgrading and increese in speed on the electosised track. This forwign investment has to be at a benefit to the people of the community above and before the return for investment. Corpiration tax is voluntary for the substantial and only handycaps the middle sized and smaller enterprises but what would be mire progressive is a capital gains tax at same or broader income levels in real terms as the threshold is not raised but the number of people in the middle 60% are now paying more income tax. There is an idea to lower the rate of VAT to reduce inflation but raise counil tax for properties entering in to ratios of 16 – 20 the houshold income and the buble is looking increasingly poor for society or the social justice which should be the reason for any growth at all. The bigest threat to China is Murdoch and his sinister influence on the embrionic libralisation of equality of oppertunity is still a standards of living explosion of demand for resourse that our planet can’t cope with unless changes and an inpoverish UK scientist can over come mankinds nemesis to secure the wealth, health and prosperity of all its citizens at liberty to consume more. I do see the Queen and the Jesuit Pope Fransis seeing Fransis of Assisi as a good example of how we are going to see an exestensia reversal of money being the social identity but even the understanding and distribution of money has become inequitable or drastic. Wealth is being concerntrated in a few dangerous slack cash accounts when predistribution would use a larger almost Vulgar Keysian arm to provide services that are the socal gains to be the the final result of economic prosperity. Drastic cuts and no end to the rescesion for 15 year when this generation of school leavers will be at the nemesis of a career apexing just as incomes and wealth are starting to be robust if Scotts stay and we continue to trade 50% of our exports are EU bound and foreign investors can come to manurfacture in this country knowing they have a better supported and represented well trained sraff that are the result of euality of oppeetunity as well as livung wage giving rise to better productivity and democratic capitalism elevates growing enterprises and co-ops into a finacial sector that is at the export manufacturing service sectors catalyst enriching and cultivating and feeding growth leaders and wealth creators. If we went for slower growth and a 2% growth for 25 years but slowly and progressively didn’t see any way forward by Vulgar Keynsiusm a nation of small local democraticaly capitalises growth enterprises that will be elevated and encourage and facilitated by a reformed technology, finace and infrastucture and supporr they receive from a forward looking anious industry. Small local co-operatives should be prepared for shock and seizure and fits of preparedness for bancruptcy or on the other extreme where the company is maimtained for the benefit of the emoloyees and the board of directors have to comply with the shareholders dictated goals and indicators voted priorities dictated to the directors to the shareholders means cooetition can be hijacted and wrecked as a consiquence of competition. Enterprise with robust and prepared ness for the only vision of government larger than the metroplitain local officials whom have the power to raise council tax. More progressive capitatal gains tax is there for government to come to the aid of strugling civic comunities and to cordinate efficiency and disoplin and regulation in strong long keyesianism but not the Vulgar Keyensiasm of predistribution but even sweden is taxed very heavely and sufferes at not being in the leglaslative EU body but still paying it’s EU budget payments for what is security and planning over a safe and secure export market. Fiscal policy spending on projects such as housing development deligated to local needs but local house building is paralysed because of the paralysis it runs in to with the democratisation of local building develipments bespite raising local weath by lowering the individual council tax by having more numbers of residents.

  2. Anthony Sperryn

    (Comment originaally posted 28th March 2014)

    I don’t want to write a Sinophobic rant as a comment on this article, but I have got to say that the West has got itself in a terrible mess with regards to China.

    It appears to me that present-day China is uncompromising, intent on world domination and takes no hostages.

    Think Tibet (ongoing genocide). Think theft of intellectual property. Think rule of law. Think slaughter of the elephants.

    There may be some good in some parts of Chinese culture, but we in the West are in the middle of a Darwinian struggle for survival, which we cannot win unless we radically change our approach.

  3. andrew murray

    ‘In part this stems from lack of exposure to information about China. Coverage of Chinese politics and economics in British newspapers is nowhere near as extensive as that devoted to the United States or our European neighbours.’

    Nonsense. The problem is not lack of exposure to information about China, what little journalists can get their hands on is given high profile in British broadsheets and journals. The real problem is the lack of transparency and openness in China itself. Chinese politics, and to lesser extent its economy, is opaque and shrouded in secrecy.

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