Just months ago, Tiananmen Square brimmed with adorned foot soldiers, stomping in unison, followed by the latest missiles and tanks, in a parade described by The BBC as, ‘a display of global power.’ At that time, British journalists and the established order more widely, thought of the Chinese, or should I say Xi Jinping, as more of a potential foe, than a friend. This was especially so, since Chinese officials were seen to be extending the hand of friendship to the North Koreans during their own little foot-stomping, display of might, in Pyongyang earlier this month. So, why now have our government decided roll out the red carpet and cow tow to leaders that the West has so long sought to avoid becoming close to? Is it about good economics and trade or is it, as is more likely, about building a good relationship with biggest bully in the global playground?
Over the last few weeks a deal has been finalised. The state owned, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) is to have a one-third stake in a new, nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point. Together with French partners, EDF, the Chinese plan to provide us with 24 billion pounds’ worth of infrastructure. Now, this all sounds lovely, to be welcomed even. However, as tends to be its approach to most large, oligarchical, economic institutions (i.e. the banks post economic crisis), the government has pledged to, effectively, financially guarantee this new build.