According to the British media, the British government is split on managing its cooling relations with China.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Foreign Secretary William Hague suggest being tough against China, sticking to the line which supports PM David Cameron's meeting with the Dalai Lama last May. But leaders like Cameron believe Britain should ease tensions with Beijing to help recover the economy.
Calls to be tough against China are often heard from the public and political circles of some countries, which instigate reckless moves against China's interests. However, once China adopts political and economic countermeasures, they can hardly bear the suffering.
China has more leverage than Britain has in their bilateral relations. China cultivating more contacts with separatists in Northern Ireland and Scotland would make London quite uncomfortable. China's GDP is close to that of Germany's, France's and Britain's combined. If Britain and China start competing over who can be tougher against the other, can Britain be the winner?
Few Chinese think China is being "very tough" against Britain. China reacted to Cameron's meeting with Dalai routinely, but this diplomatic battle between China and Britain was of little concern to Chinese society.
Perhaps it's time for Britain to change its way of thinking. Chinese now don't want to be bothered by such tough posturing.
Meeting with the Dalai Lama has become a cheap trick of politicians, media and state leaders. Few countries can afford to really be tough against China. Some countries' toughness toward China is actually based on the assumption that China won't become obsessed over a long-term spat.
China's increasing national strength enables it to be more confident. The Chinese have had a renewed understanding of "toughness."
The philosophy of "beating action with inaction" will be increasingly employed in China's diplomacy in the future.
Some Western politicians are keen to instigate a tough attitude toward China. This is in fact a reflection of their worries about China's rise. Unlike the Chinese, they are becoming more sensitive. Because of their high positions, they are able to exaggerate individual narrow-mindedness into wider anti-China sentiment.
The West seeks to prod China through issues such as the Dalai Lama. China must react. But China's strategic initiatives in handling such issues are on the rise.
It's not a game of winning or losing, but a process of China and relevant countries seeking new patterns of interaction.