China owns vast network of UK real estate, offshore records reveal

The Chinese government owns a vast network of UK real estate via offshore secrecy jurisdictions such as Luxembourg and the Isle of Man, the Guardian can reveal, raising questions about Beijing’s grip on links in the UK supply chain. Disclosures made as part of a new government register of property owned via offshore entities show that China’s investment division owns more than 250 properties across Britain via dozens of companies. They include distribution centres that are key to the flow of food and goods in multiple regions of the UK…

China’s ‘wolf warrior’ foreign affairs spokesperson moved to new role

The face of China’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy, Zhao Lijian, has been moved from his role as foreign affairs spokesperson to a low-profile department, in what some analysts say is a demotion. Zhao is the most well-known of the ministry of foreign affairs’ public-facing spokespeople, making a name for himself during his three years fronting the foreign press, with strong criticism and hostility towards the west and combative defence of China’s policies. However, he has not been seen at the daily briefings since early December, and on Tuesday it was announced…

Global action is needed to topple Myanmar’s criminal junta boss

It’s a country where children are imprisoned, tortured and sexually abused. Hundreds have been killed since the military coup two years ago. In total, more than 2,600 people have been murdered and nearly 17,000 detained by a brutal regime led by a genocidal war criminal. In case you’re wondering, this isn’t Ukraine and it isn’t Vladimir Putin. The criminal in question is Myanmar’s junta boss, Gen Min Aung Hlaing, who struts about in a uniform adorned with meaningless decorations and gaudy gold braid. As a general rule, the more medals…

Chinese diplomats at centre of Manchester consulate row return home

China’s consul general in Manchester and five other diplomats have returned home and will escape questioning by police for their role in the beating up of a pro-Hong Kong democracy demonstrator outside the consulate in the city on 16 October. The Chinese, citing diplomatic immunity, decided to recall the diplomats after the UK Foreign Office gave the embassy a week to make the diplomats available for questioning by British police. Conservative MPs reacted furiously, saying the diplomats should have been kicked out weeks ago, rather than allow the case to…

UK to downgrade commitment to human rights for close diplomatic ties

The UK will target a group of about two dozen middle-level countries for long-term diplomatic partnerships in what marks a downgrade of a commitment to human rights as a prerequisite for close relations with the UK. The new policy being outlined in a speech by the foreign secretary, James Cleverly, is an attempt to set realistic ambitions and criteria for Britain’s future relations post-Brexit. It is an implicit admission that the phrase “global Britain”, coined by Boris Johnson, may have set expectations that British diplomatic resources and status cannot match.…

London council rejects new Chinese embassy amid residents’ safety fears

London councillors have rejected plans for a new Chinese embassy, which would have been the largest diplomatic base in the UK, after residents and advocacy groups raised safety concerns. In a tense meeting, the Tower Hamlets council voted unanimously against the proposed development to move the current embassy to a 2-hectare (5-acre) site opposite the Tower of London. Local residents and advocacy groups, who feared being swept into protests, called the plans into question, saying they would endanger people’s lives. Simon Cheng, the founder of Hongkongers in Britain and a…

British foreign policy is in flux – we need more than Sunak’s pragmatic blandness | Martin Kettle

It would be insulting and false to dub Rishi Sunak as, in Theresa May’s infamous phrase, a citizen of nowhere. Yet with a career rooted in international banking and financial networking, our prime minister is in many ways the embodiment of the globalised economic and political order that is in crisis, and may be in terminal decline. Life, it seems, has not done much to prepare Sunak for the task he faces on the world stage of plotting a path on Britain’s behalf in a multipolar world. Ukraine, nationalism, energy…

Rishi Sunak to set out pragmatic approach to Russia and China

Rishi Sunak will pledge an “evolutionary approach” to British foreign policy, arguing that states like Russia and China plan for the long-term, and the UK needs to follow suit as he attempts to set out his vision for the country’s place on the global stage. In his first major foreign policy speech since becoming prime minister, he will draw on his years running the Treasury to say that the UK’s strength abroad must be underpinned by a strong economy at home as it stands up to competitors with “robust pragmatism”.…

Penny Wong on stabilising Australia’s relationship with China

Political editor Katharine Murphy speaks to foreign minister Penny Wong about the value of multilateral summits, how Australia is trying to stabilise its relationship with China, and the release of an Australian academic from prison in Myanmar How to listen to podcasts: everything you need to know The Guardian

UK minister criticised over ‘crass and archaic’ trope about Chinese people

A UK government minister has been criticised for using a “crass and archaic” trope when talking about Chinese people during a broadcast interview. The environment minister Mark Spencer referred to the possibility that “some little man in China” could be listening in to his conversations when discussing reports a device belonging to the former prime minister and foreign secretary Liz Truss had been compromised by foreign agents. <gu-island name="TweetBlockComponent" deferuntil="visible" props="{"element":{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TweetBlockElement","html":" Mark Spencer once again showing his ignorance, on many levels. https://t.co/Ysa12JHxWR &mdash; Sarah Owen MP (@SarahOwen_) October 31, 2022…