China warning: President Xi ‘more powerful’ than Chairman Mao, minister fears

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Defence Select Committee chairman, Tobias Ellwood said the UK is facing the awkward reality that China is still at its core a communist regime as he compared President Xi Jinping to Mao Zedong. Mao was know for his brutal regime including drastic changes to the country’s farming policy which resulted in 45 million deaths. Mr Ellwood has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stand up to China and notice it is a geopolitical threat. His comments come as the UK Government decided to ban Chinese firm Huawei from the UK’s 5G infrastructure.

Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Ellwood said: “We need to better understand China.

“I fear that President Xi is now going to become more powerful than Chairman Mao and whether he is returning and recognising there is a more peaceful but also more collaborative that everyone benefits from by opening up properly.

“We’re now confronting an awkward reality that we’ve been in complete denial politicallyand economically to ignore China’s democratic deficit and human rights record.

“We can no longer ignore the fact that this is a communist regime.

“But I would like Boris Johnson to stand up as Winston Churchill did and say that there is a geopolitical threat here and the West needs to stand together.

“Trade is the issue here. The Achillesheel with China is the fact that it can only grow by trading with the rest of the world.

“That’s different to the Soviet Union itself. We can only challenge that trade because it’s plucking countries one by one from the international community.”

It comes as A World Health Organisation team in China to probe the origins of COVID-19 had “extensive discussions” and exchanges with scientists in Wuhan where the outbreak was first detected, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

The talks included updates on animal health research, he said. China shut down a wildlife market in Wuhan at the start of the outbreak, a day after discovering some patients were vendors or dealers.

The WHO says the virus most likely came from bats and probably had another, intermediary animal “host”.

The results of the WHO investigation are keenly awaited by scientists and governments around the world, none more so than Washington, which lobbied hard for the mission. The Trump administration accuses the WHO of being China-centric and plans to leave the agency over its handling of the pandemic.

Christian Lindmeier told reporters: “The team had extensive discussions with Chinese counterparts and received updates on epidemiological studies, biologic and genetic analysis and animal health research.”

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The three-week advance mission comprising two specialists in animal health and epidemiology was tasked with laying the groundwork for a broader team of Chinese and international experts that will seek to discover how the virus that causes COVID-19 jumped the species barrier from animals to humans.

Lindmeier did not provide details on the timing or composition of the broader mission.

Terms of reference for the broader mission have been produced together with Chinese authorities in draft form, he said, and were not yet publicly available.

The team’s composition is bound to be sensitive since any exclusion of US experts would be controversial. Another question will be the degree of access granted by Beijing.

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