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China lobby tells UK: Embrace Beijing or 'suffer' business backlash

City AM logo City AM 22/11/2020 Stefan Boscia
a person wearing a suit and tie © Provided by City AM

The UK will lose billions of pounds in private sector investment if it does not reverse its growing hostility toward China, according to a pro-Beijing business lobby.

The China Chamber of Commerce in the UK – which counts Huawei, ZTE and Air China as members – warned that its members may rethink their future UK strategies unless there is a thawing of the Beijing-London relationship.

Read more: China warns West on Hong Kong: ‘Their eyes will be plucked out’

Its chair also warned that there could be backlash against UK companies that are popular in China, such as Jaguar Land Rover and Burberry.

The UK’s relationship with China has become frosty this year, after it banned Huawei from helping build the country’s 5G infrastructure and accused Beijing of breaching the Sino-British treaty on Hong Kong.

Boris Johnson also just introduced security legislation that could stop Chinese companies from building infrastructure in Britain.

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In addition, many UK MPs have derided the Chinese government for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the country’s north, with an estimated 1m of the ethnic minority currently in internment camps.

China Chamber of Commerce in the UK chair Wenjian Fang told the Sunday Times that the actions of the UK government were “not rational”.

Fang is also the general manager of the Bank of China’s London branch.

“If you continue to bar Chinese companies, the UK itself will suffer from lack of support or co-operation from China. Chinese investor confidence will be heavily impacted…when the UK needs investment so much at this time,” he said.

Read more: China urges US to stop ‘arbitrary suppression of investments’

“They are prepared to make further big, substantial investment in the UK, but they are now waiting to see what decision the UK government is going to make.

“Why do you close the door and send them away?”

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