China and the UK are at odds. The reason for the dispute is the project of the large Chinese embassy in London, which Beijing would like to establish on the territory of the former British mint, next to the Tower of London. The plan, which the Chinese government had been planning since 2018, went ahead and the embassy land was finally purchased for the modest sum of £255m. All was well until 7 months ago when the newly elected aldermen rejected the embassy’s proposal (which former city officials previously welcomed).
The move, motivated by national security interests and a kind of protection for the residents of Tower Hamlets, deeply upset the Beijing government, with which British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had been trying for months to mend relations, especially cheap ones. . China has until August 11 to lodge an appeal, and by then the British government, which has so far taken the matter to local administrations, will have to decide which side it is on.
Rejecting the proposal, the local councilors refused to accept the complaints of some residents of the area (which is populated by many Muslims) who were protesting against China’s persecution of the Uyghurs in Hong Kong. Some of these local officials, to forcefully emphasize their point of view, even considered renaming the surrounding streets and squares “Uyghur Court” and “Tiananmen Square”, which then did not pass. Many British officials, having reached this point, fear that Beijing, too, may block the construction of a new British embassy in the capital, and that diplomatic relations with London’s second major source of foreign investment (after the United States) are now irreparably compromised.
“Devoted bacon guru. Award-winning explorer. Internet junkie. Web lover.”