- - Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Boris Johnson’s approval of Chinese tech giant Huawei as a continued supplier for the British 5G system has been described by Nigel Farage as, “The worst decision taken by a U.K. government for many years.” 

It has allegedly upset President Trump and other leaders in the “five eyes” intelligence alliance, so why risk a vital trade deal with America, not to mention Britain’s national security?

Mr. Johnson has been given assurance by British intelligence that Huawei’s involvement will be limited, and the security risks can be contained.

The problem the prime minister faces is that the U.K. first made the decision to use Huawei for its telecom infrastructure about 15 years ago, when Tony Blair was still prime minister, because it was cheap, and the security implications weren’t fully appreciated. 

To replace its equipment with the Nokia or Ericsson alternatives today would be hugely expensive and take years to do. But can Mr. Johnson afford not to act?

Recently, four members of the Chinese Liberation Army were charged with hacking into the Equifax international credit reference agency. The FBI alleges they plundered personal details of more than 140 million Americans, and millions of U.K. and Canadian citizens, in 2017.

It is very easy to confuse China’s economic liberalization with political reform. Indeed, how could Communist China become the world’s second-largest economy, without loosening state control?

Two key factors were the reforms made by its former paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, to allow its moribund economy to revive, and its repossession of Hong Kong.

Karl Marx predicted that capitalism would be replaced by communism, but China was the first country to utilize free enterprise to finance and secure its Communist structure. Under Deng’s leadership, China learned to harness rather than destroy capitalism. 

And when the Royal Yacht Britannia sailed out of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor for the last time on July 1, 1997, China gained a gift-wrapped passport to the global economy. 

Hong Kong was a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), unlike Communist China, so the return of the tiny territory allowed its new owners to double their world trade, added 20 percent to the size of their economy and gave them some dream real estate, including a stock exchange double the size of their own. 

While under British control, Hong Kong was protected from the Communist takeover. Thanks to Deng’s reforms, China was now ready to utilize the colony and become a dominant global force. 

Four years later, the whole of the country was accepted into the WTO, enabling its trade to grow exponentially. Today, it is the world’s largest exporter, foreign investment destination and foreign reserve holder.

Not all of Hong Kong was due to be returned to China, but when Margaret Thatcher tried to negotiate a continued British presence, Deng Xiaoping told her bluntly, “I could walk in and take the whole lot this afternoon.” 

However, he did assure her that China would respect Hong Kong’s way of life for 50 years under his “one country, two systems” policy.

That pledge facilitated China’s subsequent growth, but it still needed the ingenuity, skill, sacrifice and sheer hard work of the Chinese people to make it happen. This was their version of the American Dream, just without the same freedoms.

China also benefitted from the rise of globalization in the West, which was driven by the search for cheap labor. U.S. manufacturers relocating to China and elsewhere was viewed as an inevitable phenomenon.

It took Donald Trump to do something about the damage it had caused America’s workers and its economy. This included imposing trade tariffs and challenging China’s “unfair” trade practices. 

He also put a brake on U.S. participation in the West’s climate change zealotry, which has somehow found a way of benefiting China, the biggest CO2 producer by far. 

David Cameron’s Conservative party positioned the U.K. to be China’s No. 1 partner in the West. They needed Chinese investment for projects such as the low-carbon, high-cost Hinkley Point C power station in the West of England.

Cost estimates for it have already more than tripled to around $29 billion, making it the most expensive power plant in the world, just to meet 7 percent of the U.K.’s electricity needs. 

More of these will be needed to replace existing energy sources, so where will the money come from?

China already produces 28 times more CO2 than the U.K., and that will grow massively as it builds new coal-fired power stations, so Britain’s unilateral efforts won’t affect global levels, just consumer prices. 

Hinkley Point C is one of many disasters awaiting the U.K. as it stumbles toward its net-zero carbon emissions goal and future generations of Brits will be burdened by its mounting CO2 “war-debt.”

Banks and investors, however, have created a new form of alchemy where the trace gas is turned into gold through carbon-trading.

• Andrew Davies is a U.K.-based video producer and scriptwriter.

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