Hypocritical for Johnson to do business with China while countering China with values
Published: Jun 27, 2022 10:35 PM
Boris Johnson Photo: AFP

Boris Johnson Photo: AFP

When leaders of G7 members convened in Germany for the summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday told CNN in an interview that a balance between protecting shared values and doing business with China can be found. He said, "China is a gigantic fact of our lives... Every country gathered here today at the G7 does a huge amount of business with China. The question is can we continue to do that… I think there is a balance to be struck... It may be difficult but that's what we have got to try and do."

Just as a netizen commented, Johnson's remarks, to put it bluntly, are intended to make money from China while continuing its practices in slandering China. He is asking for the moon.

Many values the West underlines, such as democracy, freedom, justice, and the rule of law, are also emphasized in China's core socialist values. Although China's understanding in some of these values differs from the West, there is no essential difference. From China's perspective, when dealing with other countries, seeking common ground while reserving differences should be a proper manner - that is to expand mutual interests while respecting each other's values. 

But some Western politicians represented by Johnson groundlessly regard values as an obstacle to engage with China. Johnson tries to portray himself as the innocent and noble side, and China as the aggressive and presumed guilty one. Such rhetoric is hypocritical and immoral.

Johnson's words are in line with the political correctness of the Western political elite. Against their political environment, containing China by virtue of various excuses has become "political correctness." In terms of values, the UK was once described as the empire on which the sun never sets, due to British colonization of many countries in the world. Britain was the world's biggest slave-trading country. Many other European countries and the US were also involved in the transatlantic slave trade. In the US, racial discrimination has been grave, and even the US Constitution no longer protects women's freedom to have an abortion. What qualifies the US and the UK to talk about "values," "human rights" and "democracy" with China in a condescending manner? This anti-China card has no effect at all.

In bilateral or multilateral exchanges, China has not violated the values of the UK, the G7 or the   West. Instead, China respects them. However, the US and the West have not respected China's values. They treat "values" as a tool to achieve their geopolitical goals, an excuse to intervene in China's internal affairs, and a weapon to counter China and curb its development. 

According to a report by Chinese institutes, China-UK trade in 2021 set a new record. In the West, enterprises formulate their own development strategies in accordance with the interests. The government only provides some suggestions, but it's up to the corporation to decide what to do and with whom to cooperate. China's large amount of trade with the UK, the US and Europe indicates that China's values are widely recognized.

As a response to the so-called Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted on May 30 that "The US is trying to politicize and weaponize economic matters and even make it an ideological issue. Even normal trade in goods is to be judged by whether it conforms to US-style values or not. Such an approach runs counter to the basic laws of economics, puts shackles on the free market, and goes against the trend of economic globalization defined by exchanges and complementarity. It probably would get nowhere." Such remarks can be applied to comment Johnson's rhetoric as well.