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From: The Socialist issue 792, 11 December 2013: After Mandela: The struggle must continue

Search site for keywords: China - Capitalist - Government - Rail - Capitalism - Japan - Nuclear power - Britain - David Cameron

Cameron 'kowtows' to Chinese dictatorship

Western capitalist leaders put business before lofty 'principles'

Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info

David Cameron, like many other Western leaders visiting China, abandoned any pretence of defending 'democracy' or 'human rights' in order to secure new profitable deals for British capitalism.

Even before his visit, the Prime Minister's office stated he had no plans to meet the Dalai Lama, as he did in May 2012, and recognised this had 'saddened China'.

In response to Cameron's meeting with the Tibetan Buddhist leader the Chinese dictatorship scuppered a planned visit to China in April 2013, and demanded that the British government "recognise its mistake".

British capitalism - with its own bloody history in Tibet - made sure Cameron performed the required 'self-criticism' so as not to jeopardise financial and business links with the world's number two economy. During the Beijing meeting with new Chinese President Xi Jinping, Cameron declared: "We do not support Tibetan independence".

To rub salt in the wound, Beijing's state-controlled media dismissed Britain as "just an old European country," claiming it was only of interest "for travel and studies". Such comments reflect the increasingly nationalistic tone of regime propaganda.

US imperialism is irked by Cameron, whose Beijing visit preceded that of Vice President Joe Biden.

Through Biden, Washington attempted to pressure Beijing over a potentially dangerous conflict with Japan over air space and disputed uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. The British government's fawning will have encouraged Xi to stand firm on the Japan issue.

Staunch allies

In the business magazine Caixin, Cameron portrayed the British government as the staunchest allies of Beijing in multinational forums such as the G20 and EU, and the most open to Chinese investment.

The British delegation landed a number of billion dollar deals ranging from British big business investment in Chinese hospitals to Chinese investment in Britain's high-speed railways and nuclear sector.

British capitalism, the former 'workshop of the world' - a mantle that has shifted to China - is becoming even more parasitic and finance-based.

The unrepentant finance sharks of the City of London want to position themselves as the major global centre for the booming offshore trade in the Chinese currency, the renminbi.

The government has already opened the way for major Chinese investment in nuclear power - with Chancellor George Osborne offering up to 100% control to Chinese firms.

Chinese investment is also on the cards in the 50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project. The Socialist Party's sister organisation in China, organised around chinaworker.info, warn that both nuclear and high-speed rail development in China are clouded by serious safety issues.

The Wenzhou high-speed rail disaster in 2011, which killed 40 people, highlighted major deficiencies with the Chinese authorities' approach to copying, merging and 'improving' foreign technologies from several different, incompatible national systems.

The same approach has been taken for nuclear power, with blind expansion and unsafe construction practices adding to safety fears.

China's industrial safety problems are rooted in unbelievable levels of corruption, almost non-existent controls, and the lack of even minimal public scrutiny or democratic checks. Above all they are rooted in the total ban on trade unions in China.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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