Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Britain today to embark on his official state visit. While the visit aims to build on George Osborne’s own trip to China to reinforce trade relations, Jeremy Corbyn is expected to ruffle feathers by bringing up the country’s bad track record on human rights when he meets the president this week.
Government figures are hoping Corbyn will spare them blushes by using a private meeting with the president for the conversation rather than Tuesday’s state banquet, with China’s ambassador to the UK warning that he expected British people to know how to behave at the dinner.
However, should Corbyn give off a frosty demeanor at the lavish do, he will find an unlikely supporter in David Cameron’s former head of strategy Steve Hilton. In what will come as a blow to Cameron and Osborne, their friend Hilton has warned his followers to get ready ‘for a cringe-worthy week of sucking up to despots’.
Writing an editorial for the Observer, Hilton says Britain should stand up to the Chinese government which ‘goes around forcibly inserting intrauterine devices into the bodies of its female citizens, or forcing them to have abortions’. Hilton adds that the government should impose sanctions on the country rather than ‘feeding it with fat contracts that filch the earnings of British taxpayers to fund the lavish lifestyles of sleazy Chinese elites’:
‘Surely we should be fighting corruption in the world, not feeding it with fat contracts that filch the earnings of British taxpayers to fund the lavish lifestyles of sleazy Chinese elites. With other rogue states, such as Iran and Russia, we apply economic sanctions to incentivise better behaviour and enforce international order and civilised norms.
It’s high time we did the same to China: instead of trade deals, tough sanctions; instead of sucking up to the despots of Beijing, we should stand up to them.