THE destruction of high-altitude Chinese spy balloons sailing over the USA and collecting data has brought the very real, persistent threat from communist China back into full public view.
Flying so high, they are more difficult to detect than satellites.
6Xi Jinping has torn up the Sino British relations in the past yearsCredit: AP6Hardly a week goes by without China announcing it intends to take over Taiwan by forceCredit: GettyYet difficult or not, it is a timely reminder that the Chinese Communist Party, under their dictatorial President Xi Jinping, has been sending them up on spying missions over the past few years, re-emphasising the fact that his country poses a real threat to us all in the free world.
Not, of course, that you would know that over here.
When campaigning for the leadership of the Conservative Party, the Prime Minister was clear about China, he said it posed a systemic threat to us.
Yet that has been dropped and instead we will be “Robustly Pragmatic” with China — a significant weakening.
6Xi invaded the islands of the South China Sea and is now turning them into military fortsCredit: Reuters6President Xi Jinping has been sending surveillance balloons on spying missions over the past years, re-emphasising the fact China poses a threat to the free worldCredit: AFPYet flying in the face of this weak policy, the charge sheet for President Xi is long and brutal.
Xi invaded the islands of the South China Seas and is now turning them into military forts.
The UN said he had no right to, he just ignored them and we all looked away.
Xi has torn up the Sino-British international treaty on Hong Kong.
They have instituted a tough National Security law and are busy throwing anyone who disagrees in prison.
The latest example of this is Jimmy Lai, the owner of independent newspaper Apple Daily.
Facing life imprisonment, all he wants is for the UK to publicly acknowledge he is a British citizen and demand consular access.
Yet still this doesn’t happen.
Sadly, while the USA has sanctioned nearly a dozen officials responsible for this human rights abuse, we have not sanctioned anyone.
6China is trying to rid itself of an ethnic group who live in Western China, the UyghurCredit: AFPWe know China is trying to rid itself of an ethnic group who live in western China, the Uyghur.
On Monday I joined a protest against the outrage outside the Foreign Office in London.
The Chinese authorities have incarcerated a million men in forced labour camps — often thousands of miles from their homes — while the women left behind are being forcibly sterilised.
They regularly use rape as a method of control.
They have also taken their children into “re-education” camps, trying to turn them into Han Chinese and to rid them of their memories of their culture and their families.
The USA calls it a genocide and has sanctioned the most senior officials responsible for the human rights violations.
The UK has sanctioned only a handful of low-level operatives.
Worse, the Foreign Office even said it was prepared to meet the man responsible for the genocide of the Uyghur this week when he came to the UK.
Organised protests by The Inter Parliamentary Alliance on China caused him in the end not to come — no thanks to the weakness of the Foreign Office.
Then just look at what happens when a country such as China is allowed to get away with breaking the rules when they like.
China knew that what we now call Covid could be transferred from human to human in early December 2019, yet China didn’t tell the World Health Organisation immediately as it was meant to.
The result of this delay was that it spread around the world and tens of millions died as a result.
I am still waiting to hear us criticise President Xi for this loss of life.
Worse, hardly a week goes by without China announcing it intends to take over Taiwan by force.
Its military aircraft fly into Taiwanese airspace aggressively and its Navy and Army carry out military exercises very close to Taiwan.
It threatens to blockade the island and cut off its trade links unless they succumb.
If not for the USA, we would be witnessing another Ukraine.
Allowed on campus
Our universities have become so addicted to Chinese money, they dare not criticise China for fear of losing the Chinese students or the investment.
As a result in many universities, the Confucius Institute, a Chinese organisation, is allowed on to campus, despite the security services saying it poses a threat.
6China has even set up unofficial police stations here in the UK and other countries, hauling in Chinese dissidents and threatening their families in ChinaCredit: AFPThey use their time to watch Chinese students in case they criticise the regime back at home.
Yet little is done to stop this. Why are they still here?
Despite the intelligence services warning of the risks, our police still use Chinese-made drones which pass data back to China and our Government still uses Chinese Hikvision cameras.
What a mess.
Unbelievably, China has even set up unofficial police stations here in the UK and other countries, hauling in Chinese dissidents and threatening their families in China unless they go home.
The reality is that our Integrated Review is now utterly out of date.
It needs to reflect the growing threat from China.
From the genocide of the Uyghur to the use of Chinese-run technology, we can no longer pretend that this concept of robust pragmatism looks anything else but weak in Beijing and among our allies.
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk