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Discussion > R4’s The World Tonight: China's views on Brexit

While I was driving on a long journey last Thursday night, I listened to the BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight and heard an item about China’s views on Brexit and was so appalled at what I heard that I have written this email to my MP (The different timings are due to having it available online, where the excerpt starts later in the recording, and as a podcast:

Dear <My MP>,

BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight – China’s views on Brexit – June 16th, @ circa 22 33:33

What do you make of this piece of Remain compliant, EU propaganda, broadcast on Thursday, June 16th, at about 22 33:33, by the BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight, when the referendum campaign was supposed to have been suspended?
You will be unsurprised to find that I think it is the BBC being oblivious to its own arrogance, knowing that we have to fork out the licence fee while they are free to push the EU agenda.
Please enquire as to whether the relevant Minister is unhappy with this broadcast and, if he/she is unhappy, what is being done to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
The World Tonight - China’s views on Brexit (@26 33:04 - 32 39:05), where Celia Hatton [CH] is contributing to the perspective of other countries on our referendum, by talking to the founder [CNF] of Cocoon Networks,, a venture capital group with Chinese money that is and will be invested in European Companies, mostly based in the UK.

BBC Introduction: … We know, because he told us, that President Obama supports the Remain side, but what about China, the world's second largest economy ...
CH: Does China care whether the UK leaves the European Union? The short answer is yes: very much so. To understand why you have to grasp the full scale of Chinese investment in the UK ... [loads of Chinese investments in UK listed!] …
CH:[2835:33] If the leave vote actually won, how would, how would your business change, do you think?
CNF: That is gonna be a probably cost a lot of problems, yea, because we are actually ... because Cocoon is like, like a platform bridge between China and Europe, it's {with incredulity} China and Europe, it's not China and the UK, or China and … in the London. {End of incredulity, and starts to explain why it is so.} Technology companies, and start companies really depend on, rely on, a talent, right, a talent, and ... if the UK leave the EU, so if all this kind of talent from Europe, they are going to be gone, alright, people talking and always hoping a one day London can become like a Silicon Valley, in Europe, but without all this talent it's not a be happen.
CH: Many hope the UK's economy will flourish because of its close relationship with Beijing. More than £40b in deals were signed between China and the UK when the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, visited last October. [Stately Music!] During that state visit a characteristically restrained Mr Xi [Jinping] made his views clear: China supported a united EU.
China sees the UK as part of Europe and can't understand why it would choose to leave the European Union, says Philippe Le Corre [PLC], a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC:
PLC: We are talking about a market of 65m people verses a market of 500m people, not to mention, you know, the rest of the European sphere. China definitely wants to sell more Chinese products into the European market, but they ... can better do it from the Eurozone, really.
CH: But it is not all about money for China’s leader [Xi Jinping], the EU referendum vote also carries political concerns. During Mr Xi [Jinping]'s time in power, almost over four years, he has fostered closer ties between Beijing and London, a counterbalance perhaps to China’s rocky relationships elsewhere. Yu Jie is the China Programme Manager at the London School of Economics' LSE Ideas Think Tank. She says that if the UK leaves the EU, Xi Jinping decision making skills could come into question.
YJ: He has been recently criticised by certain senior party members by saying he has been pay too much attention … to money matters of the diplomacy without concerning the slowing Chinese economy at home and focusing on the domestic economic ripple which he should be really doing. So if the UK leave the EU, and this … not only undermining the international influence of the UK but also undermining President Xi Jinping himself, his own personnel influence, governing as a strong leader because he is betting on the wrong horse.
CH: Chinese entrepreneurs might also come to feel they bet on the wrong horse. Over tea ... he begins to fret over the outcome of the vote:
CNF: I’m not just afraid about if we do leave, it is kind of like just like an earthquake, like a huge earthquake; it is like a nine degree earthquake. So, to be honest, I have no idea, I don’t know what is going to be happen in the future.
CH: Is this keeping you up at night?
CNF: Err .. yes, I think so. My personal <???> don't know this.
CH: Some might argue that Chinese concerns don't matter, the UK should make its own decisions regarding EU membership, but for those who have invested both financial and political capital in a closer relationship between China and the UK, well for those people, the countdown to the referendum might involve a lot of sleepless nights.

Here is a summary of what a listener might have grasped from this item from this BBC current events broadcast  :
1. The BBC is keen to remind listeners that Obama supports Remain.
2. China cares about us; it really does. And they want us to stay in the EU.
3. China, with the second largest economy, has 'given' us loads of investment because we are in the EU, and we mustn't forget it.
4. If we cannot grasp how much UK investment China has, it doesn't matter, just listen to the BBC guidance, aka Project Fear.
5. Voting Brexit will create a lot of problems for those who care about us.
6. Voting Brexit will mean all the [technological] talent will disappear and London(?) won't become like a Silicon Valley.(Does the rest of the country matter?)
7. China supports a ‘united EU’; you hadn't forgotten had you? (An EU, without Britain, would probably be more united, more united in its aim of Ever Closer Union and will become even more successful (closer together) than it is now, but not if all those populist movements become more popular.)
8. A senior fellow at the Brookings Institution thinks that China cannot understand why we want to leave the EU. (We want to be rid of the dysfunctional, continental, bureaucratic politicians and the dysfunctional, continental, political bureaucrats. Diplomatically, there was no mention of Taiwan or that many the EU Elite have had Maoist leanings.)
9. A senior fellow at the Brookings Institution thinks it is hardly worth the effort to trade with a market of 65m people, even if it is a developed sovereign nation!
10. If you don’t know what the ‘rest of the European sphere’ is or why it is so important, then you are one of those who don’t need to know.
11. The Chinese President's job is on the line, if we vote for Brexit: he will have bet on the wrong horse. To mix metaphors, Britain will be in the dog house if we think about voting Brexit, (but there are rumours that it all might change once we have voted to Leave!) We are too small to go it alone, yet big enough to topple the president of the most populated country in the world.
12. Even the programme’s Chinese entrepreneur, a member of that renowned band of risk takers, is having sleepless nights. He has no idea what is going to happen, but it will include a huge earthquake, a release of around 32 ‘Gigatons’, like the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 and the Lisbon Earthquake in 1755, metaphorically anyway.
13. The same Chinese entrepreneur, whom the BBC thinks can speak on behalf of the Chinese nation, thinks that Britain is his country (“I’m not just afraid about if we do leave”): very touching!
14. Anyone thinking that Chinese concerns don't matter (or even, are less important than British concerns?) should understand that they are not doing what the informed Elite want them to do, making the Elite very cross, and that includes the BBC!
15. The BBC doesn’t want us to know that China has made trade deals with many sovereign countries, including Chile, Singapore, New Zealand and even Iceland, raising the possibility that leaving could enhance our trade prospects with China. It is a very relevant point that was not mentioned.
16. Did the BBC not recognise that this broadcast is aligned to the Remain campaign (which it was, as I didn’t detect any Brexit friendly points) or did it forget there was a pause in the Referendum Campaign, or was flagrantly ignoring the break? I would like to know.

Those who are acquainted with the EU Agenda will be very familiar with the above, weary of the BBC promoting it, and everyone would have expected the BBC to have followed the two main political parties in pausing their campaign and not broadcast this item.

Yours sincerely,
Robert Christopher

Jun 20, 2016 at 6:02 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 June, 2016, 1:50pm

UPDATED : Monday, 20 June, 2016, 6:36pm

Jun 20, 2016 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

None of this surprises me, sadly, and it does sadden me.

I'm not in Alan Kendall's camp of being a BBC enthusiast, but I still have a high regard for much of its output, nor do I resent what is a modest TV licence fee. I don't watch much TV these days, but probably 80% of my viewing is the BBC, as is my 100% of my radio listening. I enjoy the quality of their programmes, but their news output and current affairs programmes drive me mad - no attempt at objectivity over a whole range of issues. It's sad; one of the finest (the finest?) broadcasting organisations in the world behaving like this. And it seems (a bit like the EU) there's nothing we can do about it.

Jun 21, 2016 at 8:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson