How we saw it: The rise of China

We examine our coverage of the rise of China since the 1940s. Britain cannot afford to stand aloof from Beijing and continue to be a reluctant dance partner

The World Today
2 minute READ

Professor Kerry Brown

Former Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme

One of the striking aspects of Britain’s relationship with China since the Second World War is that, even when it didn’t want to, it has had little choice but to engage with the country. In January 1949, before the Chinese Civil War had ended with victory for the Communists and the establishment of the People’s Republic, a writer in The World Today argued that there were ‘particular dangers inherent in becoming involved in China’. Expressions of the desire to keep a distance from Beijing, however, were purely rhetorical. From the start British rhetoric on Communist China, and the reality of its relationship, were always different things.

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