Lords debates long-term strategic challenges posed by China
20 October 2023
On Thursday 19 October, members of the House of Lords debated the long-term strategic challenges posed by China.
Earl Howe (Conservative), the Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, put forward the debate.
This was a general debate. During debates, members put their experience to good use to discuss current issues and draw the government's attention to concerns.
Members speaking in the debate included:
- Lord Alderdice (Liberal Democrat), director and vice president of the International Dialogue Initiative
- Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench), patron of Hong Kong Watch
- Lord Collins of Highbury (Labour), Lords opposition spokesperson for foreign affairs
- Lord Howell of Guildford (Conservative), former Minister of State for International Energy Policy.
Opening the debate, Earl Howe said:
'China’s increasing assertiveness and growing impact on many aspects of our lives will be one of the defining factors of the 21st century...the three pillars of the government’s approach to China [are] protecting our national security, aligning with our allies and partners and engaging with China where it is in the UK’s interests to do so.'
Lord Collins responded:
'Will the government back Labour’s plan for a joint Treasury-Home Office task force to drive forward work on keeping the UK safe from these economic threats to our security?'
Lord Alton added:
'Most alarmingly for me, the [Intelligence and Security Committee] concludes that China has been able to “successfully penetrate every sector of the UK’s economy”.'
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative), Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and United Nations, responded on behalf of the government:
'The new powers in the National Security Act make the UK a harder target for states that seek to conduct hostile acts against the UK...We have committed to investing in the skills and knowledge of UK officials, giving them the tools to better understand China in responding to the systematic challenges that we face.'
Watch and read the debate
Explore background information
Find out more about the issues the debate covers in the House of Lords Library briefing.
Learn more about how the House of Lords checks and challenges government.
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