The Sunday Debate: It’s Time to Treat China Like an Adversary not a Partner

We are in a second Cold War with China. That’s the conclusion many experts have come to as they observe China’s increasingly aggressive behaviour beyond its borders – its suppression of democracy in Hong Kong, its sabre-rattling towards Taiwan, the vast espionage offensive against the West’s technology, not to mention the confrontational tone of its new ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy. That’s the argument of the China hawks, but not everyone agrees. Some believe that coexistence with China, not confrontation, should be the West’s goal. After all, allowing tensions to escalate to an actual war is too horrific to contemplate. We should put our faith in diplomacy and work to persuade the Chinese leadership that it is in their best interests to cooperate within the existing world order, instead of trying to dominate it. So how should the West respond? Arguing for the motion were Nathan Law, Hong Kong activist and former legislator, currently in exile; and Alan Mendoza, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society. Arguing against the motion were Shirley Yu, Professor and Director of the China-Africa Initiative at the London School of Economics; and Vince Cable, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats and author of The China Conundrum. The debate was chaired by Manveen Rana, Senior investigative journalist and host of The Times and Sunday Times flagship podcast Stories of Our Times.

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