Webinar - Tuesday 23 June at 11:00am - Should the UK decouple from China? 


 Jeff Cao, a widely respected China expert, used to run the Mayor of London’s Asia Pacific investment team and sat on the CBBC Board. 

Wang Liwei, a pioneer of Chinese philanthropy since the early 2000s. He set up ‘Charitarian,’ a private club and Chinese media platform, to enable Chinese business people to originate, finance and implement charitable projects in rural China. 

Clare Pearson, a lawyer and founder of the International Impact Practice for Corporate Foundations in Beijing. 

Moderator H-J Colston, Joint CEO Chopsticks Club & regular speaker on China.

Our panellists presented some interesting – and sometimes – challenging views on the China-UK relationship. 

Jeff Cao noted that the peak of the Golden Era is long gone and that views on China are polarised around Sino-sceptics and Sinophiles. That was also clear in the chat, too, and it was good to be able to air views and opinions. Whatever decision-making process the UK is on, will not be taken in isolation from what is happening in the US and the EU and we must educate ourselves as to what the implications will be if relations turn sour. 
Due to COVID, the old way of doing things has also long-since gone. Travelling for meetings is not possible currently, so what is the way forward? How can decision-makers get together and make progress? Clare Pearson “suggested Plan B (Britain), C (China) and D(data)” to enable processes to be speeded up not just by weeks and days but months, which could, in turn, stimulate economic growth. 

Taking the image of chopsticks and cutlery, Wang Liwei pointed out that perhaps the current polarisation of views comes from a mutual lack of understanding of national positions and values and how they work. He also highlighted that, whilst China’s new-found confidence is not well-received here in the west, there was plenty to keep China busy at home. According to the polls, 57% believed that the UK should de-couple in areas of national security. 17% said “other;” we would be happy to hear from you via private chat what you mean by this.   

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