IAIN DUNCAN SMITH: We may as well put up a sign saying: ‘City for sale, autocrats welcome’

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The revelations about the Lord Mayor’s links to China should be a matter of genuine concern. What is now very clear is that China poses a systemic threat to the United Kingdom and its allies. You only have to look at the charge sheet of what President Xi and his communist henchmen have been doing internally and on the world stage.

That’s why it is a matter of great sadness that in the pursuit of financial gain, the appalling commercial behaviour and brutality of this communist regime has been casually brushed aside, even ignored, it appears, by the Lord Mayor.

Businesses around the world already complain of the blatant Chinese theft of intellectual property rights and of being undercut on bids by the illegal Chinese government subsidy of commercial firms around the world.

Under President Xi, China has seized the South China Sea and its islands and is now militarising it, threatening the free passage of trade through that area.

It has trashed the Sino-British agreement on Hong Kong and is arresting and prosecuting those who have called for democracy.

Concerns have been raised over Prof Michael Mainelli¿s (pictured) chairmanship of a think-tank sponsored by a Chinese institute with close ties to Beijing and his calls for a wave of Chinese nationals to be recruited into the Square Mile¿s ancient guilds

Concerns have been raised over Prof Michael Mainelli’s (pictured) chairmanship of a think-tank sponsored by a Chinese institute with close ties to Beijing and his calls for a wave of Chinese nationals to be recruited into the Square Mile’s ancient guilds

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Michael Mainelli speaks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the Lord Mayor's Banquet in November

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Michael Mainelli speaks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in November

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the revelations about the Mayor ¿should be of great concern¿

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the revelations about the Mayor ‘should be of great concern’

The most famous of these is Jimmy Lai, a successful media entrepreneur and British citizen

It gets worse.

We now know that China is guilty of genocide of the Uighur people, an ethnic group in Xinjiang, western China. Whilst their women are forcibly sterilised, their children are sent to re-education facilities.

The Uighur men have been moved to internment camps where they often work as ‘slave’ labour, sadly often making products that shoppers in the West then buy.

China cracks down on adherents of Christianity, particularly the evangelical churches.

They have persecuted the Falun Gong, a religious group. Hundreds of thousands have been arrested, and in far too many cases, forced organ harvesting has been practised on them, to supply the Chinese transplant industry.

Finally, as President Xi has made very clear, he intends to seize the island of Taiwan, which is a democracy that is unwilling to be controlled by China.

This charge sheet is clear and in the public domain.

Prof Mainelli is chairman of Z/Yen, which describes itself as the City of London¿s ¿leading commercial think-tank¿. It last year took £1 million in revenue and lists the China Development Institute, a Chinese research organisation, among its ¿platinum sponsors¿

Prof Mainelli is chairman of Z/Yen, which describes itself as the City of London’s ‘leading commercial think-tank’. It last year took £1 million in revenue and lists the China Development Institute, a Chinese research organisation, among its ‘platinum sponsors’

Under President Xi (pictured), China has seized the South China Sea and its islands and is now militarising it, threatening the free passage of trade through that area

Under President Xi (pictured), China has seized the South China Sea and its islands and is now militarising it, threatening the free passage of trade through that area

After all, as this paper reminds us, MI5 boss Ken McCallum, in an unprecedented move, declared that the Chinese government and its ‘covert pressure across the globe’ was ‘the most game-changing challenge we face’.

I am astonished that the Lord Mayor praised the Chinese Belt and Road programme.

It is well known that the programme seeks to extend Chinese political influence whilst forcing many countries across the developing world into harsh debt repayments. You only have to look at the mess Sri Lanka got into when they, as a result of huge Belt and Road debts, effectively handed control of Hambantota Port to China.

All of this appears to have been swept aside in the open promotion of greater links between the City of London and communist China.

It’s not as though too many in the City of London haven’t made the same mistake before.

We are still trying to clear up the mess they got into in their rush to accept billions from corrupt Russian oligarchs and from the appalling Russian state, now involved in a brutal war of invasion in Ukraine.

I wonder at the blatant promotion of China and what this will say, yet again, about the City.

Given this, perhaps we should simply hang a sign at the entrance of the City of London saying, ‘For Sale, oligarchs and autocrats welcome.’

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