It seems as if everyone has a reason to be angry with China. Human rights organisations campaign against its suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and its treatment of Uighur Muslims in ‘re-education’ camps. Corporate America has battled for years against intellectual property theft from Chinese businesses. Green activists protest against its environmental record, while the arrival of 5G has created another point of friction as the UK and the US battle to limit Huawei’s influence. So what is the best way to handle this superpower?
Some say it is essential to get tough. If we are to maintain a liberal democratic world order, then countries that threaten it must be prepared to pay the price.
That is the argument of the hawks. But not everyone agrees. Proponents of a more hands-off approach say that those who want to get tough on China will only isolate it and make it even more hardline. Instead of playing tough and risking a second Cold War, we should engage in good faith with China and co-opt it into the world order.
In December 2020 we were joined by Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, argues that we need to prevent a Beijing-dominated world, and Singaporean author Kishore Mahbubani, who contends that the West should accept that it’s only a matter of time before China usurps the US as the world’s most influential superpower.
Speakers subject to change.