1/10 Farage and a Mail on Sunday story have garnered a lot of attention with a China related story tonight. Because of the sources there will be scepticism. It’s 3am here so just time for a quick look. The story reveals British private schools being “bought by Chinese firms”
2/10 The story straddles a few different issues - it is concerned with private schools in the UK. The existence of such institutions themselves is being debated at present (see for example “Labour Against Private Schools (Laps))”.
3/10 For now, let’s set that aside and regard them simply as British educational institutions. From this perspective, many of these revelations are troubling. The article states that 9 of 17 Chinese owners have links to CCP. I expect this is an underestimation to be honest.
4/10 The story identifies the company Bright Scholar, with links through Yang Huiyan to Yang Guoqiang. He is a CPPCC member and fairly typical of ultra wealthy Chinese citizens who knows it is in their interest to dance to the Party’s tune.
5/10 Yang Guoqiang actually features in my PhD thesis in other UK ventures - look out for the name🧐. We need to understand, whether directly linked to the Party or not, most major PRC entities form the Party’s latent network regardless (see link) theasiadialogue.com/2019/07/05/hua…
6/10 Whilst it is troubling that entities and individuals within the gravity of the Party own British schools, my first thought would be about protection - how the UK vets who buys such schools, and what influence they possess over syllabus.
7/10 Adding to the issues in this instance, I believe Yang Huiyan at Bright Scholar is actually now an EU citizen having obtained Cypriot citizenship through its ‘golden passport’ scheme (requires €2 million investment). These schemes also merit further scrutiny.
8/10 Further investigation into this and related topics is required, but we must ask about what protections and vetting are in place - this is crucial. It also demands further scrutiny into owner influence over hiring practices and syllabus. This is something that can be done now
9/10 whilst there are serious dangers, I don’t think this debate is enriched by comments like “The world is being taken over by stealth by the Chinese Communist Party” included here, however. + I wouldn’t pick out Chairman’s Bao for much criticism (just tell students what it is)
10/10 In short, this is a worthy topic regardless of the source in this instance. It forms part of a much wider issue that reaches across various sectors. First action on UK side is to tighten up what is within its control - begin with ownership rules + syllabus influence review.

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More from @METhorley

27 Nov 20
Today I have submitted my PhD thesis: "Fool’s Gold?: Sino-British Elites and the ‘Golden Era’ of Relations"😅. The study brings an investigative research approach to three case studies and the interconnections between them. Each case study produced genuinely revelatory findings. PhD Thesis front cover
The Freedom of Information requests, targeted dual language background checks, & inter-case connections appear to demonstrate coordinated party-state activity in the UK, including targeting of high profile political figures, influence over APPGs, & commercial entity compromise.
The study demonstrates linkages between actors connected to PRC involvement in UK civil nuclear energy, renminbi internationalisation in the City of London, and PRC linked acquisition of high value properties in London.
Read 7 tweets
10 Jul 20
1/13 Delighted to report that a collaborative article between @AMFChina & I has been published in Journal of Current Chinese Affairs @GIGA_Institute. It's open access & concerns the risks + hidden liabilities of MNC engagement with the Chinese party-state. journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/18…
2/13 We explore the major GSK corruption scandal in China as a revelatory case study. Particularly relevant is discussion of "rising commercial risks for MNCs & considerable legal risks for Chinese and non-Chinese intermediaries working on their behalf" nytimes.com/2016/11/02/bus…
3/13 The corruption case blew up to such an extent that it constitutes "one of the best opportunities in recent years to explore the dynamics of the relationship between China and the West, and multinational corporations – Chinese party-state engagement in particular".
Read 13 tweets
14 Apr 20
1/7 After a decade of debate on the topic, The Telegraph is cancelling its infamous China Watch, PRC-sponsored supplement. Never any danger that readers would swallow the awkward content, but secondary effects were a major concern... theguardian.com/media/2020/apr…
2/7 @OborneTweets eloquently outlined this concern in his resignation letter to the Telegraph - suggesting that dependence on the fee paid by the PRC may influence the paper's wider coverage of the PRC. opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocra…
3/7 This might not be a moral stand by The Telegraph - it could have been decided in Beijing given some negative coverage recently. It could also be down to internal changes at the paper following an ongoing toxic family feud between the paper's owners - the Barclay brothers.
Read 7 tweets
5 Apr 20
1/7 Amid Covid-19 crisis you may have missed this. China Reform Holdings tried on Tuesday to nominate 4 directors to the board of UK's Imagination Technologies Group (chip designer). This is a bold move & could allow redomiciling of company & assets to PRC news.sky.com/story/tory-gra…
2/7 Here I'll take a quick look at the Chinese side of this development. In 2017 Imagination was taken over by Canyon Bridge Capital Partners. Canyon's main investor is China Reform Holdings Corp 中国国新控股有限责任公司. For a start Canyon's original involvement is problematic.
3/7 Canyon was set up by Ben Chow who asked Ray Bingham to lead and thought a "U.S.-based buyout fund with a U.S. partner like Bingham would trigger much less scrutiny by CFIUS [US body that reviews foreign investment in US] compared with a Chinese buyer" reuters.com/article/us-lat…
Read 7 tweets
9 Jan 20
1, Barry Gardiner MP has shocked the Labour Party by suggesting he might run to be leader. Gardiner is a talented MP by most accounts, but might his China links come back to haunt him if he contests a general election as leader? A short thread. theguardian.com/politics/2020/…
2, Previously @thetimes @oliver_wright @Hannah_McGrath reported on some rather unfortunate links between Gardiner and Christine Lee, in the story listed here. thetimes.co.uk/article/china-…
3, But there is more to this story than meets the eye. As well as links to the Chinese embassy, Lee is an overseas member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC)...
Read 15 tweets
19 Dec 19
1/10 Today I've posted two articles that attempt to explain the weaknesses of the Western response to Chinese party-state influence. Government policy on China had until recently come to resemble that of a commercial entity rather than a nation state. 🇨🇳 theasiadialogue.com/2019/12/19/the…
2/10 The second part takes PRC involvement in the UK's civil nuclear energy sector as a case study. Investigative research & freedom of information requests have unearthed some fascinating revelations about how this contentious decision came to pass 🇬🇧🇨🇳⚡️ theasiadialogue.com/2019/12/19/the…
3/10 The image is a visual of part of the network involved in decision on Hinkley nuclear power station (& Bradwell station). This part relates primarily to Chinese party-state involvement in the sector. Interaction between PRC (left) & UK (right) is framed by commercial actors.
Read 11 tweets

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