Britain holds itself in a dangerous position allowing Chinese state-owned companies to partake in vital national projects.
Since the USSR fell, the idea of Communism as a threat to Western life has largely fallen from the public consciousness. Groups such as ISIS and the Taliban, as well as rogue nations such as Iran have been the mainstay of public fears with many, if not all, eyes focussed on them.
However, the willingness for successive governments to allow state owned Chinese companies to build then have a hand in running critical infrastructure projects, is nothing short of a gross threat to national security with possibly dire consequences.
New Nuclear Reactors
China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) has plans to build three Nuclear power stations in the UK along with French firm EDF. These plants will hold a key role in the future of UK power generation due to the transition away from fossil fuels, giving the Chinese government a sizeable influence in the UK energy sector.
With £2.7 Billion already invested in one site by CGN, it is now virtually impossible for the UK to prevent the company from advancing their plans without causing some kind of diplomatic incident.
One reactor will be the Chinese designed HPR 1000 with CGN taking a majority stake in the plant’s operation. This could allow for espionage or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to hold the nation effectively to ransom by threat of blackouts or even nuclear meltdown. While this may seem far fetched, it is not out of the ordinary for the CCP to manipulate or bully groups that don’t align with its world view (see Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea).
This nuclear cooperation even contradicts the opinion of the United States, which barred US companies from doing business with CGN over espionage fears in 2019. This effectively splits the West and our policy towards China which may lead to the weakening of the UK-US relationship.
Huawei and UK 5G
The UK 5G network is a similar story to the Nuclear industry. Huawei, the Chinese state owned telecom company, will take a 35% share in the UK 5G network. This is despite many security concerns from both the intelligence services and MPs. Which again contradicts the US and their ban of Huawei from being involved in US 5G.
The involvement of a company accused of intellectual property theft and fraud is effectively asking for trouble in an age where people rely more on digital technology. The government must take steps to ensure that British people are not being exploited or spied on by Huawei or other foreign powers.
This all amounts to the United Kingdom being threatened by an expansionist, authoritarian power looking to prove itself, then the government doing everything short of hanging out the flags in welcome.