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An open letter from representatives of Chinese professionals in the UK to G7 leaders

WE ARE a collective of professionals of Chinese ethnic origin residing in the United Kingdom. 

We wish to express the community’s hope that leaders at the 2021 G7 will take all necessary step to defuse the current hostility towards China and the Chinese people. 

Many of us had lived experience in China, and extensive relationships with the country and people. We implore the leaders of the G7 to regard China as a friend and not as an enemy.

We are glad that the Covid-19 pandemic is the main agenda for the 2021 G7 conference. 

However, we are anxious that this forum should not be abused as a platform to propagate anti-China Covid-19-related myths. 

As the April  7 2020 Nature publication rightly warned: “Continuing to associate a virus and the disease it causes with a specific place is irresponsible and needs to stop.” 

As infectious disease epidemiologist Adam Kucharski reminds us in his timely book The Rules of Contagion, history tells us that pandemics lead to communities being stigmatised, which is why we all need to exercise more care.

The international rule-based system has designated the WHO as the competent body to deal with such a pandemic. 

Hence, all political accusations about the virus that are not science-based are unhelpful and a distraction to making the world safe from the pandemic.

A member of this collective, Dr Michael Ng, a community leader and a university professor in the UK, is involved in combating pandemic-related hate crimes against the Chinese community. 

He wishes to remind the G7 that any attempt to politicise the Covid-19 issue against China would fan the flame of hate crimes against the community. 

That would undo all the excellent efforts of the local councils, civic groups, police force and community leaders who had helped defuse the spread of hate crimes.

Dr Ping Hua, a research scientist, is concerned that the rise of hate crimes and daily demonising of China has created such a hostile environment for Chinese scientists that it could stymie the scientific and intellectual exchanges between the West and the world’s fastest-growing economy.

We note with concern the United States’ anxiety over the economic rise of China. 

China’s per capita GDP is only one-fifth of the United States, with only one military base abroad compared to 800 of the United States. 

It is not a threat to the West. China’s rise is complementary to Western interests. 

A more prosperous China could only benefit working people in the West through higher demands for Western goods and services. 

Treating China’s rise as a threat to the United States or the West is based on fiction.

China is not a utopia, but it is undoubtedly not a dystopia as Western critics and media visualise. 

The Chinese people are aware of the ideological differences between the West and China. 

Yet over 90 per cent support the government in Beijing. This is the finding from a 13-year long survey carried out by the Ash Centre of Harvard University. 

They found that the majority of the population surveyed feels that today is better than yesterday. They expect tomorrow to be better than today. 

The millions of Chinese who vote with their feet to return home after their travel and studies in the West corroborate with the Ash Centre findings.

China’s governance is different from the West. That does not necessarily mean that the Communist Party of China (CPC) can defy the wishes of its citizens. This is the conclusion of the survey. 

According to Edward Cunningham, who co-authored the research from 2003-2016, the “CPC isn’t immune to shifts [in] public opinion, especially in areas like corruption, environmental degradation, health, and overall standards of living.”

When considering whether China is a friend and partner, or enemy, G7 should consider the independent findings of the Ash Centre.

We are concerned that current hostilities towards China in the West are manufactured and ratcheted up in the United States to serve the interest of the military-industrial complex and the electoral needs of both the Democrats and the Republicans.

The alleged genocide in Xinjiang and the threat of invasion of Taiwan are the two most important examples.

On genocide in Xinjiang

We believe that the claim of genocide in Xinjiang is untenable as the Uighur population has increased from five million to 13 million since the 1950s. 

If China does enslave a million Uighurs, the CIA enhanced aerial surveillance technology could easily prove the allegation with video images of prisoners in the yards. They have not done so.

Critics of China have studiously ignored a World Bank statement of November 11 2019 that dealt with the allegation that skills and learning institutions associated with the bank were de facto prisons. 

“In line with standard practice, immediately after receiving a series of serious allegations in August 2019 in connection with the Xinjiang Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project, the Bank launched a fact-finding review, and World Bank senior managers travelled to Xinjiang to gather information directly … the review did not substantiate the allegations.”

Mr Bitu Bhalla, a member of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn and international arbitrator, and Mr Wah-Piow Tan, a Balliol-educated human rights solicitor, were unimpressed by the various legal opinions supporting the claim of genocide against China. 

“China and the World Bank’s $100 million education and training program in Xinjiang,” they observed, "is cast-iron evidence that China has no specific intention to kill a part or whole of the Uighur population. Without specific intention, there cannot be any genocide.

“What genocide regime would spend $100 million to educate and train the people you plan to kill?” 

They are also disappointed that the issues of proportionality were not adequately addressed, or addressed at all by those barristers criticising China’s response to the threats of terrorism.

“Unlike Britain or the United States, China confronts an al-Qaida and Isis-inspired insurgency seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate in Xinjiang and central Asia.”

On the China threat to Taiwan

According to the Economist, Taiwan has become the most dangerous place globally because of the risk of military conflict between the United States and China. There is enough nuclear weaponry between them to destroy the planet.

What the United States perceives as China’s threat to Taiwan is viewed differently by the Chinese people. 

At an International Affairs Fellowship forum, a US think tank, a panellist reported that 100 per cent of overseas Chinese students in the United States considered Taiwan a province of China. 

“The possible validity of Chinese claims” over Taiwan, remarked historian Max Hastings in a recent opinion piece in Bloomberg, was not even considered by the China experts advising the US administration. 

Hastings had raised a valid question. The overwhelming majority of countries worldwide recognise the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government of China and pursue the one-China policy. 

This is de facto recognition of China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. To China, it is an unfinished reunification process.

The United States has its own hidden agenda to embolden the Taiwanese separatists, in the same vein as encouraging Uighur or Hong Kong separatists. 

We hope the G7 should advise the United States to refrain from redefining its one-China policy, thereby destroying any likelihood of an amicable arrangement for reunification.

The impending war

We are particularly concerned that Britain’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth II, the third-largest globally, is speeding towards Taiwan to flex its muscles at China. 

Instead of supporting the hawkish approach of the United States towards China, the G7 should review the futility of wars launched since the September 11 2001 attack. 

The wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Libya had caused 800,000 deaths, displaced 21 million people, wasted $6.4 trillion. These wars created failed states, not democracies.

The current propaganda war complementing the military adventures against China are efforts to retain US hegemony. 

The flawed policy has more dire consequences than those of the last two decades. 

The G7 should review the previous 20 years of war launched by the US before contemplating to support Biden’s military-led Indo Pacific Tilt, which is the code word for China-bashing in the South China Seas area.

The stakes are so high that the advice of Bruce Kent, the veteran peace campaigner, ought to be taken seriously: “We can learn to live harmoniously as neighbours … we have to learn to live as partners.”

Tan Wah Piow (Universal Common Sense) on behalf of the Collective of Chinese Professionals.

Tan Wah Piow is a Balliol-educated human rights solicitor, practising in London and director Universal Common Sense. For background to Bruce Kent’s comments watch War No More a DVD production available at www.abolishwar.org.uk.

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