The endorsement nobody wanted: China’s biggest state tabloid praised Rishi Sunak for his soft stance on Beijing and his “pragmatic view” on strengthening ties with the country
- China’s biggest state tabloid has praised Rishi Sunak for his soft stance on Beijing
- Global Times recognized him for his record of advancing trade talks with China
- Earlier this year, Mr Sunak called for a “complete turnaround” to revitalize ties
As the Tory The leadership race reaches its climax, the fight for every last supporter is on.
But there is one vote of confidence that all candidates would be happy to forego – the Chinese Communist Party.
Unfortunately for Rishi Sunak – who is not exactly lacking in support as the frontrunner of the competition – has received the dubious honor.
Global Times, a sister publication of the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece People’s Daily, recognized him for his record of advancing trade talks with China.
Earlier this year, Mr Sunak called for a “complete turnaround” to revitalize Britain-China relations.
While “most of the candidates take a tough stance on China,” the Global Times report said, “only one of them [Sunak] has a clear and pragmatic view on the development of UK-China relations”.
China’s biggest state tabloid has praised former Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured on Friday) for his relatively dovish stance on Beijing and his “pragmatic view” on strengthening ties with the country
The piece also quoted an expert who warned that Penny Mordaunt could take “an even tougher stance” than Boris Johnson.
While the tabloid shied away from a direct endorsement, there were concerns about Beijing’s mouthpiece singleing out Mr Sunak. A government source said: “It is worrying that China – which poses the greatest strategic threat to the West and our democratic values - appears to want Rishi as our next prime minister. What does that say about him?’
Mr Sunak has been less harsh on China than many of his fellow ministers, despite tensions over trade, human rights abuses and Hong Kong.
In his Mansion House speech last year, he suggested that improving trade relations with China was a priority for Britain.
“The debate about China too often lacks nuance,” he said.
“The truth is that China is both one of the most important economies in the world and a country with fundamentally different values from ours. We need a mature and balanced relationship. This means speaking openly about their increasing international influence and continuing to take a principled stance on issues that we believe are contrary to our values.’
The lucrative Chinese subsidiary of Infosys, an Indian IT firm founded by Sunak’s father-in-law Narayana Murthy, employs 3,300 people across its offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Dalian, Hangzhou and Jiaxing.
Mr Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty owns a £700m stake in Infosys.