The China-capitalist-Tory nexus

Submitted by AWL on 16 February, 2021 - 7:55 Author: Pete Radcliff
City of London

UK-based banks HSBC and Standard Chartered have come under attack for their collaboration with the governments of Hong Kong and China.

Consider also Jardine Matheson, one of the top 200 trading companies in the world, with assets of £49 billion and a turnover of £40 billion. They own a significant proportion of Hong Kong’s very expensive real estate.

Soon after the imposition of the National Security Law [NSL], Jardine Matheson put full-page advertisements in pro-Beijing Chinese newspapers Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po in support of the NSL, declaring that “the rule of law” and “One Country, Two Systems” principles were underpinning “continuous stability and prosperity for Hong Kong.’’

The company was set up to flood China with opium. After a sizeable amount of its opium was confiscated and destroyed by the Chinese in 1839, the co-founder William Jardine came back to Britain.

Offering detailed battle plans, he persuaded Foreign Minister Palmerston and prime minister Wellington to organise an attack in 1841 on the Chinese coastline to protect the opium trade. The bombardment forced China to surrender the island of Hong Kong in the Treaty of Nanking as a military base to protect the renewed opium trade. The main shareholders now are the Keswick family, descendants of Jardine’s family. Henry Keswick, chair of the company until 2018, is the former owner of The Spectator. He has extensive interests in China and has met regularly with senior Chinese CCP politicians, for example in a high profile meeting with Vice-Premier Wang Yang in 2015.

In the 2017 General Election Henry Keswick and his wife Tessa donated £100,000 to the Tories’ election fund. In the previous year, they had given £20,000 to the Leave EU campaign. Tessa Keswick used to work for Ken Clarke when he was a Tory minister.

Now the Tories pretend to oppose the Chinese government’s attacks on democracy in Hong Kong…

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