A top China expert from Oxford University has explained why China will be forced into a humiliating climbdown from their threats against the UK. Reports in the Sunday papers claim that China is planning a “9/11 style cyber attack on the UK” in revenge against Britain’s stance on Hong Kong and potentially pulling out of the Huawei deal. Ministers fear China could unleash a devastating online attack on the country amid increasing tensions between London and Beijing.
After Australia adopted a similar hard line on Huawei, it was hit by a sustained large-scale cyber attack.
However, the director of Oxford University’s China Centre, Professor Rana Mitter, revealed that this was simply a bluff from the Chinese.
He said that China “needs an awful lot from the UK” and he predicted that the tense relations between London and Beijing will thaw within six months.
Speaking to LBC, Professor Mitter said China will soon realise how much it relies on Britain for some services.
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He called on the British to exploit this advantage, and make it “work best for the UK rather than simply being a service provider to China”.
LBC’s Andrew Castle asked: “Is China a threat to the United Kingdom?”
Professor Mitter said: “It doesn’t have to be a threat if we don’t want it to be.
“The conversation is becoming very fearful. It is all about what China could be able to do to the UK.
“China wouldn’t be so foolish to launch a massive cyber attack on the UK immediately after a Huawei decision.
“If they did, no free country would ever do a deal to China again.”
He predicted that tensions in Hong Kong will also settle down once China “realise they have a tremendous interest in keeping Hong Kong a major financial centre and actually keeping a line in some of the internationalised areas of the British economy”.
Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the Commons defence select committee, warned that China posed more of a threat to the UK than Soviet Russia did during the Cold War.
Earlier today, the US has warned its citizens in China to “exercise increased caution” because of a heightened risk of arbitrary detention.
The warning, sent in an email to US citizens in China, comes after Beijing passed a national security law for Hong Kong, with the legislation drafted to cover people “from outside Hong Kong”, including non-residents.