Hello. It looks like you�re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best Tortoise experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help, let us know at memberhelp@tortoisemedia.com

#XisChina

thinkin

Making sense of hidden Chinese influence, with Poppy Sebag-Montefiore

The West has invested a lot in engagement with China. But in our attempt to build a closer relationship with one of the world’s largest economies, have we given away more than we realised? Maybe Western institutions weren’t assertive enough about their values, or perhaps the profit motive was too strong, but it looks like we got the wrong end of the bargain as China’s Communist Party exerts a greater influence in the UK. From the City’s financial institutions to the UK’s top universities, how much self-censorship takes place when it comes to China and the influence of its government?  When is it activated and when do we become aware of it? Why are we sensitive to it in some parts and what are our blind spots? What does our relationship with China and its influence in the UK say about the tensions in our democracy between free speech and free market?  editor and invited experts Poppy Sebag-MontefioreJournalist and Reporter on ‘Hollywood’s cultural revolution’, Tortoise Isabel Hilton OBEJournalist and Broadcaster, reporting extensively from China and Hong Kong Mark WheatleyCommon Councilman for Dowgate, City of London

thinkin

The Hong Kong Diaries: In conversation with Lord Chris Patten

How do you negotiate with China? 25 years after one of the most pivotal moments in British-Chinese relations, we speak to Lord Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong. Between 1992 and 1997, Patten kept a diary describing in detail how Hong Kong was run as a British colony, what happened as the handover approached, and his efforts to secure political freedom for Hong Kong’s institutions. Unexpectedly, his opponents included not only the Chinese themselves, but some British businessmen and civil service mandarins upset by Patten’s efforts, for whom political freedom and the rule of law in Hong Kong seemed less important than keeping on the right side of Beijing. With unprecedented insights into negotiating with the Chinese, we’ll discuss Hong Kong, the handover and what has happened since. Join us for a ThinkIn with Lord Patten’s powerful assessment of recent events and his reflections on how to deal with China — then and now. editor and invited experts James HardingCo-Founder and Editor Lord Chris PattenGovernor of Hong Kong, 1992-1997

thinkin

Is China censoring Hollywood?

This is a digital-only ThinkIn.After decades of growing its political and commercial influence over the world, China is now flexing its cultural muscles. Hollywood studios are bowing to pressure from China to edit finished films, edit scripts, drop ‘problematic’ characters, for fear of losing out on lucrative Chinese audiences. But what happens when producers want to make films with stories that China doesn’t want to be told? Join us for a ThinkIn with leading film and TV producers as we ask the question: does China now control the story?  editor and invited experts James HardingCo-Founder and Editor Erich SchwartzelHollywood reporter, The Wall Street Journal; Author of ‘Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the global battle for cultural supremacy’ Suzanne NosselChief Executive Officer, PEN America Ying ZhuProfessor Emeritus, City University of New York; Director, Center for Film and Moving Image Research, Academy of Film, Hong Kong Baptist University; Author, ‘Hollywood in China: Behind the Scenes of the World’s Largest Movie Market’ (June 2022)

thinkin

The origins of Covid: what do we know?

In March a Conservative parliamentary researcher and director of an influential policy group on Beijing stopped coming to work in Westminster. Now, thanks to a report in The Sunday Times, we know why. The 28-year-old, named by The Times as Chris Cash, was one of two men arrested on suspicion of spying for China. Cash is claimed to have links with senior Conservative MPs including Alicia Kearns and the recently-appointed Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, although it is understood that Cash only had contact with Tugendhat before he took on his new role. The other man is in his thirties, but has not yet been named. Neither man has been charged and both are on bail until October.  They have been arrested under the Official Secrets Act, a 100-year-old piece of legislation which is designed to stop people trading confidential information. But it’s understood that neither of them had access to that sort of information, because they didn’t have security clearance.  What Cash did have access to was senior politicians who are known to be sceptical about China. The suggestion is that he could have used that position to influence them or interfere in some way, which he denies. He said in a statement: “I feel forced to respond to the media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy’. It is wrong that I should be obliged to make any form of public comment on the misreporting that has taken place. However, given what has been reported, it is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent. I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party. To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.”  Beijing has also rejected the allegations, telling the UK to “stop spreading false information”. Whatever the truth, it has prompted outrage from MPs who feel they should have been told about the arrests, rather than finding out about them in a newspaper. China-sceptics are also using the arrests to push for a more cautious relationship with the world’s second largest economy at a delicate time for UK-China relations.  We are yet to see where the story about the two arrested men will lead. They may never be charged. But it’s a headache for a government that is trying to balance concerns about human rights abuses and potential interference with the need to do business with a global power.

thinkin

Sensemaker Live: China’s soft power game — is Beijing buying influence in the UK?

In March a Conservative parliamentary researcher and director of an influential policy group on Beijing stopped coming to work in Westminster. Now, thanks to a report in The Sunday Times, we know why. The 28-year-old, named by The Times as Chris Cash, was one of two men arrested on suspicion of spying for China. Cash is claimed to have links with senior Conservative MPs including Alicia Kearns and the recently-appointed Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, although it is understood that Cash only had contact with Tugendhat before he took on his new role. The other man is in his thirties, but has not yet been named. Neither man has been charged and both are on bail until October.  They have been arrested under the Official Secrets Act, a 100-year-old piece of legislation which is designed to stop people trading confidential information. But it’s understood that neither of them had access to that sort of information, because they didn’t have security clearance.  What Cash did have access to was senior politicians who are known to be sceptical about China. The suggestion is that he could have used that position to influence them or interfere in some way, which he denies. He said in a statement: “I feel forced to respond to the media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy’. It is wrong that I should be obliged to make any form of public comment on the misreporting that has taken place. However, given what has been reported, it is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent. I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party. To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.”  Beijing has also rejected the allegations, telling the UK to “stop spreading false information”. Whatever the truth, it has prompted outrage from MPs who feel they should have been told about the arrests, rather than finding out about them in a newspaper. China-sceptics are also using the arrests to push for a more cautious relationship with the world’s second largest economy at a delicate time for UK-China relations.  We are yet to see where the story about the two arrested men will lead. They may never be charged. But it’s a headache for a government that is trying to balance concerns about human rights abuses and potential interference with the need to do business with a global power.

thinkin

Sensemaker Live: why did Covid kill so few people in China?

In March a Conservative parliamentary researcher and director of an influential policy group on Beijing stopped coming to work in Westminster. Now, thanks to a report in The Sunday Times, we know why. The 28-year-old, named by The Times as Chris Cash, was one of two men arrested on suspicion of spying for China. Cash is claimed to have links with senior Conservative MPs including Alicia Kearns and the recently-appointed Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, although it is understood that Cash only had contact with Tugendhat before he took on his new role. The other man is in his thirties, but has not yet been named. Neither man has been charged and both are on bail until October.  They have been arrested under the Official Secrets Act, a 100-year-old piece of legislation which is designed to stop people trading confidential information. But it’s understood that neither of them had access to that sort of information, because they didn’t have security clearance.  What Cash did have access to was senior politicians who are known to be sceptical about China. The suggestion is that he could have used that position to influence them or interfere in some way, which he denies. He said in a statement: “I feel forced to respond to the media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy’. It is wrong that I should be obliged to make any form of public comment on the misreporting that has taken place. However, given what has been reported, it is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent. I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party. To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.”  Beijing has also rejected the allegations, telling the UK to “stop spreading false information”. Whatever the truth, it has prompted outrage from MPs who feel they should have been told about the arrests, rather than finding out about them in a newspaper. China-sceptics are also using the arrests to push for a more cautious relationship with the world’s second largest economy at a delicate time for UK-China relations.  We are yet to see where the story about the two arrested men will lead. They may never be charged. But it’s a headache for a government that is trying to balance concerns about human rights abuses and potential interference with the need to do business with a global power.

thinkin

Sensemaker Live: should Team GB boycott the Winter Olympics?

In March a Conservative parliamentary researcher and director of an influential policy group on Beijing stopped coming to work in Westminster. Now, thanks to a report in The Sunday Times, we know why. The 28-year-old, named by The Times as Chris Cash, was one of two men arrested on suspicion of spying for China. Cash is claimed to have links with senior Conservative MPs including Alicia Kearns and the recently-appointed Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, although it is understood that Cash only had contact with Tugendhat before he took on his new role. The other man is in his thirties, but has not yet been named. Neither man has been charged and both are on bail until October.  They have been arrested under the Official Secrets Act, a 100-year-old piece of legislation which is designed to stop people trading confidential information. But it’s understood that neither of them had access to that sort of information, because they didn’t have security clearance.  What Cash did have access to was senior politicians who are known to be sceptical about China. The suggestion is that he could have used that position to influence them or interfere in some way, which he denies. He said in a statement: “I feel forced to respond to the media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy’. It is wrong that I should be obliged to make any form of public comment on the misreporting that has taken place. However, given what has been reported, it is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent. I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party. To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.”  Beijing has also rejected the allegations, telling the UK to “stop spreading false information”. Whatever the truth, it has prompted outrage from MPs who feel they should have been told about the arrests, rather than finding out about them in a newspaper. China-sceptics are also using the arrests to push for a more cautious relationship with the world’s second largest economy at a delicate time for UK-China relations.  We are yet to see where the story about the two arrested men will lead. They may never be charged. But it’s a headache for a government that is trying to balance concerns about human rights abuses and potential interference with the need to do business with a global power.

thinkin

Sensemaker Live: Local elections – so what did we vote for?

In March a Conservative parliamentary researcher and director of an influential policy group on Beijing stopped coming to work in Westminster. Now, thanks to a report in The Sunday Times, we know why. The 28-year-old, named by The Times as Chris Cash, was one of two men arrested on suspicion of spying for China. Cash is claimed to have links with senior Conservative MPs including Alicia Kearns and the recently-appointed Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, although it is understood that Cash only had contact with Tugendhat before he took on his new role. The other man is in his thirties, but has not yet been named. Neither man has been charged and both are on bail until October.  They have been arrested under the Official Secrets Act, a 100-year-old piece of legislation which is designed to stop people trading confidential information. But it’s understood that neither of them had access to that sort of information, because they didn’t have security clearance.  What Cash did have access to was senior politicians who are known to be sceptical about China. The suggestion is that he could have used that position to influence them or interfere in some way, which he denies. He said in a statement: “I feel forced to respond to the media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy’. It is wrong that I should be obliged to make any form of public comment on the misreporting that has taken place. However, given what has been reported, it is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent. I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party. To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.”  Beijing has also rejected the allegations, telling the UK to “stop spreading false information”. Whatever the truth, it has prompted outrage from MPs who feel they should have been told about the arrests, rather than finding out about them in a newspaper. China-sceptics are also using the arrests to push for a more cautious relationship with the world’s second largest economy at a delicate time for UK-China relations.  We are yet to see where the story about the two arrested men will lead. They may never be charged. But it’s a headache for a government that is trying to balance concerns about human rights abuses and potential interference with the need to do business with a global power.

thinkin

Is Jack Ma the world’s greatest entrepreneur?

In March a Conservative parliamentary researcher and director of an influential policy group on Beijing stopped coming to work in Westminster. Now, thanks to a report in The Sunday Times, we know why. The 28-year-old, named by The Times as Chris Cash, was one of two men arrested on suspicion of spying for China. Cash is claimed to have links with senior Conservative MPs including Alicia Kearns and the recently-appointed Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, although it is understood that Cash only had contact with Tugendhat before he took on his new role. The other man is in his thirties, but has not yet been named. Neither man has been charged and both are on bail until October.  They have been arrested under the Official Secrets Act, a 100-year-old piece of legislation which is designed to stop people trading confidential information. But it’s understood that neither of them had access to that sort of information, because they didn’t have security clearance.  What Cash did have access to was senior politicians who are known to be sceptical about China. The suggestion is that he could have used that position to influence them or interfere in some way, which he denies. He said in a statement: “I feel forced to respond to the media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy’. It is wrong that I should be obliged to make any form of public comment on the misreporting that has taken place. However, given what has been reported, it is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent. I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party. To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.”  Beijing has also rejected the allegations, telling the UK to “stop spreading false information”. Whatever the truth, it has prompted outrage from MPs who feel they should have been told about the arrests, rather than finding out about them in a newspaper. China-sceptics are also using the arrests to push for a more cautious relationship with the world’s second largest economy at a delicate time for UK-China relations.  We are yet to see where the story about the two arrested men will lead. They may never be charged. But it’s a headache for a government that is trying to balance concerns about human rights abuses and potential interference with the need to do business with a global power.