UK becomes more self-isolated by restricting official Chinese visas
Published: Mar 14, 2024 09:45 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

The UK government is considering limiting the number of Chinese nationals who can enter the UK on official business, fearing that this is "abused to bring spies into Britain," according to Bloomberg on Wednesday. The UK's approach to the so-called national security threat posed by China and its paranoid and spurious interpretation of national security once again refreshes people's impression of its bottomlessness.

This is not only a corny political speculation based on subjective assumptions, but also a typically selective, discriminatory move. The British side made the absurd accusation against Chinese nationals out of nothing but "fear," without showing any evidence. Some British politicians have fallen into severe anti-China paranoia, and their unfounded slander against China is intended to cover up their own incompetence and failure in solving political, economic and social problems in the UK.

A purpose of such hype is to make their people believe that Sunak's government is tough on China, as the British prime minister is under pressure due to the upcoming election. At this time, he can't afford to be the slightest bit weak on his China policy, or he may lose more votes, Li Guanjie, a research fellow with the Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies under the Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times.

In August last year, some British media reported that a "Chinese spy" was alleged to have contacted British officials through LinkedIn, the well-known professional networking site, which is another typical case of the UK hyping up the so-called "China threat" theory. Later, the Chinese Embassy in the UK called the accusation "pure speculation" and "malicious slander" that was perpetuated without any evidence.

Why does the UK repeatedly stir up the topic of "Chinese spy?" The reason behind is worth pondering. On the one hand, it essentially reflects the consistent bottomless anti-China stance of some British politicians. It is easy to understand: they are relying on such political manipulations, and the "China threat" is a perfect tool. Only by continuously fabricating and maximizing the "China threat" theory can these politicians highlight their value in their careers and gain greater political benefits.

On the other hand, the British government closely follows the US by smearing China against the backdrop of US-China competition. Some US media and politicians have frequently fabricated the incidents of "Chinese spy" in recent years. In January, the US also restricted Chinese students entering the US on the grounds of national security. In order to ride on the US' chariot to contain China, Britain is even willing to serve as the pawn.

In sharp contrast to the UK's visa restrictions, China has adopted a visa-free policy for Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg since March 14. As of now, China has signed mutual visa exemption agreements with 157 countries. The Western rhetoric of "China's self-isolation" collapses on itself. If the UK wants to carry out visa restrictions and become more and more self-isolated, just like the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the boomerang of more than 200 years ago is now seemingly going to backfire on the UK. Such consideration of Sunak's government that turns back the wheel of history will only ruin the UK in the end.

Some British officials are concerned that any move to restrict diplomatic activity now would "risk inflaming tensions with China." This shows that there are still voices of reason in Britain. China is always seeking for an equal and mutually beneficial relationship with the UK. In the face of current political situation, if Sunak's government attempts to challenge China's diplomatic interests, then China will certainly impose reciprocal diplomatic measures on the UK. What is the right way forward? What is the sensible choice? This question isn't difficult to answer.