Surveillance isn't just China's problem

The false binary between the West and China

UK’s prime minister Rishi Sunak talks tough when it comes to China. But the rhetorical brandishing of British democratic values vs Chinese authoritarianism, is hypocritical, argues Jane Hayward. 


In a widely publicised speech at the end of November, Rishi Sunak declared the end of the “golden era” in UK-China relations, a reference harking back to David Cameron’s beer-in-a-pub moment with Xi Jinping in 2015, but an empty claim by Sunak since nobody anywhere thought we were still in that era. Sunak is right, however, that Britain must find a path which eschews a misleading yet overused Cold War-like rhetoric (which wrongly implies that China is, like the old Soviet Union, firmly outside the global capitalist system) as well as naïve and self-serving beliefs about how economic engagement will induce political reform in China to make it, supposedly, more like Western liberal democracies. Doing so has to start with recognising that our politics resembl

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