China research group

Cindy Yu, Charlie Taylor and Petroc Trelawney

17 min listen

Cindy Yu tells the story of how she got to know Westminster’s alleged Chinese agent and the astonishment of seeing herself pictured alongside him when the story broke (01.12), Charlie Taylor, His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, talks breakouts, bureaucracy and stabbings, and wonders – where have all the inspirational leaders gone (06.45), and Petroc Trelawney shares his classical notebook and describes a feeling of sadness as the BBC Proms wraps up for another year (11.54). Produced and presented by Linden Kemkaran.

China is spying on us, so what?

That China is spying on us is hardly the revelation of the century. The Sunday Times broke the story that police have arrested two men amid allegations that a parliamentary researcher was spying for China. The spy, working on international policy, had alleged links to senior Tory MPs with sensitive information. He had previously lived and worked in China, leaving officials apparently fearing he may have been a ‘sleeper agent’ recruited to infiltrate British political networks.  Cue howls of indignation all round. An unnamed source close to Alicia Kearns, chairwoman of the foreign affairs select committee to whom the spy allegedly had access, claimed the allegations, if true, constituted a ‘serious escalation and show

Prepare for a big Huawei U-turn

The UK has made a strategic choice to get ‘off the trajectory of ever-increasing dependence’ on China, I reveal in the magazine this week. This is important as the UK was about to go over the precipice in terms of dependence on China with the decision to allow Huawei to construct a lasting part of the UK’s 5G network. That is now not going to happen. Downing Street describes its previous Huawei decision as a ‘legacy issue’, emphasising how no one was particularly comfortable with the compromise they came up with—Huawei’s role would be capped and it would be kept away from ‘the core’ of the network. This is just

The MP demanding a new approach to China

Six years ago, Neil O’Brien was working for George Osborne when the then chancellor was enthusing about a ‘new golden era’ in Sino-British relations. But now O’Brien, who became the Conservative MP for Harborough in 2017, is one of the founders of the new China Research Group, a group of Tory MPs who are pushing for the government to take a tougher line with Beijing. His best-case scenario is one where the UK and its allies ‘manage to restrain some of the worst behaviours of the Chinese government’. O’Brien’s change of heart sums up the shift in Tory thinking on China. The party has moved away from pushing for the