street of shame

The wrong march…
China & the Telegraph , Issue 1527

THE Daily Telegraph supports the hostile new approach to Beijing taken by its former columnist and current prime minister Boris Johnson. Scorning those who say the UK shouldn’t let concern about human rights jeopardise trade with China, its editorial declares: “Such realpolitik is characteristic of authoritarian regimes and we are right to stand up to it.”

Telegraph columnists agree. “Too many in the West are still blind to the inconvenient truth about China,” harrumphs William Hague, while Charles Moore is scathing about British businesses and universities who kowtowed to “organisations ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – which is to say, all important organisations in China”.

You wouldn’t guess from this that over the past decade Moore’s employers earned an estimated £750,000 a year from one such organisation, the state-controlled China Daily, which produced a monthly “China Watch” in the Telegraph that looked like part of the newspaper but was in fact a propaganda supplement.

Lucrative love-in
To keep its paymasters sweet, the Telegraph also ran a monthly column in its comment pages by Liu Xiaoming, the ambassador in London, under such irresistible headlines as “The UK-China ‘Golden Era’ can bear new fruit” and “China’s reform heralds a bright new future” – as well as the inevitable “Britain can and must work with Huawei on 5G”.

The lucrative love-in came to an abrupt end in lockdown, just after Eye 1519 pointed out that while the newspaper’s comment pages were urging “We must now treat China like a hostile state”, the Telegraph website maintained its feed of relentless good news supplied by hacks from the Chinese Communist Party. In the second week of April, the rolling news from China Daily and the complete archive of China Watch supplements were erased from the Telegraph website.

Xi Jinping Thought
Not all history can be deleted so fully, however. While the Telegraph has removed every trace of its decade-long kowtowing, the Chinese embassy has a large archive of press releases and pictures showing that, until this year, senior editorial figures regularly visited the ambassador to be instructed in the finer points of Xi Jinping Thought, and his officials in turn went to the Telegraph offices to offer on-the-spot guidance for comment and foreign editors.

The embassy photograph from last year (see above) is typical, headlined: “Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Holds Talks with the Daily Telegraph Editors”. The dutiful execs are editor emeritus Ian MacGregor, Sunday Telegraph editor Allister Heath, lifestyle director Jane Bruton and deputy comment editor Lucy Denyer. Heath assured His Excellency that the Telegraph titles “stay committed to covering China’s development comprehensively to contribute to the understanding and cooperation between China and the UK”.

A year on, its editorials are demanding “a new, hard-headed strategy towards China”, noting that “the West is having to re-think its entire policy towards China, even though it has long been clear that it is a totalitarian power with an appalling human rights record and anti-competitive trade practices”. By “the West”, do they by any chance mean “the Daily Telegraph”?

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More top stories in the latest issue:

Papers berates ministers and MI5 over malign Russian interference – as fake social media commenters boost traffic on the Guardian and Mail websites.

The Mail is shocked that much of China’s PPE is made by forced labour – but won’t identify where its charity initiative Mail Force sourced its own PPE.

The Economist stridently opposes the UK’s ban on Huawei – surely music to the ears of the magazine’s largest shareholder.

Father and son Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev are nowhere to be seen in Mail pictures of the UK establishment hobnobbing with influential Russians. Fancy!

From Peter ‘Face Nappies’ Hitchens to James Delingpole, compulsory mask wearing gives the usual shock jocks a perfect excuse to talk bollocks.

Misery at the Guardian as 180 redundancies are announced – but bafflement too as the cuts are targeted at two of its strongest and most popular sections.

More on potty-mouthed Paul Blanchard, the self-styled international PR “consigliere” who can’t seem to stop saying disgusting things.

The Telegraph stands by its story linking former Dean of Canterbury Victor de Waal to the late Lady Runcie – even though the families (and even de Waal himself) say it’s complete tosh.

Episode 2 of the BBC’s Murdoch series falls for the corporate spin and keeps daughter Prudence out of the picture. Yet she’s been a Times director for years.

Private Eye Issue 1527
In This Issue
‘Quarantine rule ruined my holiday,’ says ordinary Brit in Spain, Mr G. Shapps… ‘I’ve totally had it with England,’ says Scotland as lockdown split-ups rise…‘I didn’t need Russian Brexit vote meddling to plunge UK into chaos,’ insists Cameron… Government pledges to meet challenge of messing up roll-out of any successful new vaccine… Experts warn of second wave of baffling articles about Brexit trade chaos as winter looms… Property prices crash to new highs in stamp duty confusion… Mass gathering of Liverpool supporters celebrate winning ‘Stupidest Football Fans’ title… The Guardian Online, as told to Craig Brown

Health & Safety
Cuts finally hit home at a busy HSE

Covid lesson
Charities pay to translate vital public information

Repression pays
Defence tech the UK still sells to China

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11th August 2020
Private Eye Issue 1526