“Enough is enough. For too long, politicians in Britain and across the West have rolled out the red carpet and turned a blind eye to China’s nefarious activity and ambitions,” said Rishi Sunak, on the campaign trail to replace as Conservative Party leader and UK Prime Minister.
“I will change this on Day 1 as PM. I will stop China taking over our universities, and get British companies and public institutions the cyber-security they need. And I will work with President Biden and other world leaders to transform the West’s resilience to the threat China poses,” he declared.
The evidence to suggest China has “targeted countries from the United States to India” and highlighted his plans to create a broad alliance along the lines of NATO, including countries from all over the world.
He noted: “China is the biggest-long term threat to Britain and the world’s economic and national security – as the Director General of MI5 and Director of the FBI have said.
“At home, they are stealing our technology and infiltrating our universities. And abroad, they are propping up Putin’s fascist invasion of Ukraine by buying his oil and attempting to bully their neighbours, including Taiwan.
“They are saddling developing countries with insurmountable debt and using this to seize their assets or hold a diplomatic gun to their heads. They torture, detain and indoctrinate their own people, including in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, in contravention of their human rights. And they have continually rigged the global economy in their favour by suppressing their currency.”
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Under his plans to counter this threat, Sunak said he would:
Close all 30 of China’s Confucius Institutes in the UK – the highest number in the world.
Build a new international alliance of free nations to tackle Chinese cyber-threats and share best practice in technology security.
Expand MI5’s reach to provide greater support to British businesses and universities to counter Chinese industrial espionage.
Examine the need to prevent acquisitions of key British assets including strategically sensitive tech firms.
It comes as the Redy4Rishi campaign intensified over the weekend, including a key speech in Grantham, the home town of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, where the prime ministerial candidate was joined by his wife and daughter Krishna and Anoushka (pictured above).
“Have no doubt, I am the underdog,” Sunak said, surrounded by supporters waving Ready4Rishi campaign banners.
“The forces that be want this to be a coronation for the other candidate [Liz Truss]. But I think members want a choice and they are prepared to listen,” he declared amid cheers.