fredag 29. januar 2021

How China could turn off Britain’s lights

In any future war between Britain and China, the winner could be decided in a matter of hours — and Britain is unlikely to be the victor. For years now, Chinese businesses have been quietly positioned at the heart of British infrastructure. Were a conflict to erupt, their employees could, willingly or otherwise, be mobilised by Beijing. In fact, they would be legally compelled to.

What could this mean in practice? To put it simply, if he were so inclined, President Xi Jinping could, at the flick of a button, turn off the lights at 10 Downing Street — not to mention freeze Britain’s financial system and paralyse its hospitals.

Perhaps that’s why there has been such a concerted effort by British politicians in recent weeks to address their country’s dependence on trade with Beijing. These efforts are certainly well-intentioned, but as someone who has spent years charting China’s silent campaign of global interference and subversion, I fear they could be too late. In my recent book, Hidden Hand, my co-author Mareike Ohlberg and I detailed the threat the Chinese Communist Party poses to Western democracy. Here, for the first time, a small but disproportionately concerning new aspect of that can be revealed: how China is slowly taking over Britain’s nuclear power and electricity systems.