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.