Sino-UK partnership transcends media mudslinging over human rights

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/1 22:43:41

British Prime Minister Theresa May is visiting China, seeking to expand pragmatic collaboration with the country so as to pave the way for future trade and investment deals.

However, some Western media outlets keep pestering May to criticize Beijing in an attempt to showcase that the UK has withstood pressure from China and the West has consolidated its commanding position over the country in politics.

Certain democracy activists in Hong Kong also intervened. In an open letter published Wednesday, Joshua Wong urged May to "stand up for Hong Kong's rights," claiming that London vowed "Hong Kong will never have to walk alone" in 1996. Taking advantage of Western forces to confront the central government is a long-term illusion of the radical Hong Kong opposition.

Some Western media outlets eagerly hoped that French President Emmanuel Macron would denounce China during his Beijing trip last month, but Macron disappointed them.

May will definitely not make any comment contrary to the goals of her China trip either. For the prime minister, the losses outweigh the gains if she appeases the British media at the cost of the visit's friendly atmosphere.

Europe's rational upgrade of comprehensive cooperation with China is an irreversible trend. Europeans must overcome prejudices and negative sentiments toward China. Radical voices are often heard in European public opinion on China-related issues, but they do not represent Sino-European relations and will gradually die down in the face of realistic needs. European governments have become increasingly clear-minded, and should guide public opinion in this regard.

Developing friendly cooperation with China has become the mainstream in Europe, and major European countries are actually competing to collaborate with Beijing. A large trade volume with China is widely regarded as a political achievement, and meanwhile tensions with China have increasingly become a political burden. Some media's radical advocacy has already lost its appeal.

The UK government has done work to shape public opinion for May's China trip. British Ambassador to China Barbara Woodward said ahead of May's visit that Britain has kept a steadfast and steady commitment to the "Golden Era" partnership with China, stressing that the country is a "natural partner" for China's Belt and Road initiative. May's enthusiastic and positive remarks about China have led European media's coverage of the trip in a positive direction.

Like its participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Britain's joining the Belt and Road initiative conforms to its national interests. While the government is responsible for public well-being, the media tends to whip up sensations while disregarding sound international relations.

Some European media pressed May and Macron on human rights, but the two leaders sidestepped the topic on their China trip. This shows that the Sino-European relationship has, to a large degree, extricated itself from the impact of radical public opinion.

China's robust development has instilled impetus for Europe to overcome its prejudices against Beijing. David Cameron's government gained Britain strategic initiative by joining the AIIB. In May's era, Sino-British relations have the conditions for strategic breakthroughs. We hope May's visit this time can function as a key to future Beijing-London cooperation.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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