23/01/2012 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman.

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The Government gets a poke in the eye from a bishop's crook.


How come the Government can decide that this woman should have her


benefits capped, but not this banker's pay? The Business


Secretary declines to tell what he thinks is fair pay package for a


banker. By what right does an unelected


bishop frustrate the will of Government?


Beijing's Forbidden City is forbidden no longer. But the


country remains an enigma to the west. Increasingly prosperous and


increasingly confident. What does it want in the world. We have asked


citizens there. Who does the 21st century belong


to? Most people say it is China. wonder what the Chinese ambassador


to Britain will have to say about that.


It has been a while since you could honestly call the Church of England


the Tory Party at prayer. The bishops in the House of Lords


certainly don't merit the title tonight. They led the defeat of


Government plans to cap the amount of money people can claim on


benefits. Earlier the Business Secretary had been dragged before


the Commons to lay out his plans to curtail the amount of money being


paid to senior business people. Significantly, no figures were


mentioned in that plan. Claptrap and dribble were a couple


of the more printable words used by some of Vincent Cable's


Conservative comments in Government, to describe his ideas. Both issues


touch a public nerve. The political challenge is to stay on the right


side of the argument. Before we talk, David Grossman reports.


1234 this is game of strategy and tactics. Involving castles, only


affordable, we are told, for the very rich, or those on overgenerous


welfare benefits. Involving bishops, speaking out, against the


Government. Lib Dem knights, or at least Lords, speaking out against


the bishops, and not to forget the pawns faced being moved out of more


expensive accommodation. The Prime Minister was turning the tables on


Asda employees in Leeds today. He was trying to sell them something.


On offer he had the Government's plans to reform benefits. No


household, he says, should get more than �26,000 a year. That is


equivalent to a salary of �35,000. Many people in this audience here


who are not earning �35,000, are you happy that your taxes are going


towards families where no-one is working and they are earning over


�26,000 in benefits. Is that fair? No, I don't think it is fair either,


that is why it is right to have, thank you for that! How much money


is at stake here. The Government says it would make savings of �290


million in 2013/14 by introducing the cap. It will affect 67,000, who,


on average, will lose �83 a week. The Government is achieving two


things, they are hitting those with high levels of housing costs, and


taking money away from families with very large numbers of children.


If you think either one of those is the problem, maybe you would have


been better limiting housing benefit payments or limiting the


amount you give for fifth or subsequent children. Given this, it


is not exactly clear who is the target. This is a sharper political


message? It is clear when you are saying, �26,000 a year, that is all


you can get. If you say we will reduce the child supplement for the


fourth child is Working Tax Credit, that is less salient. Tonight,


though, the Government were defeated in the House of Lords, an


amendment led by the bishops. The cap, they said, should not include


child benefit. It is important that those people who are already in


difficulties, because their benefit has been capped, do not also face


having their child benefit removed. It is a very simple amendment. It


preserves child benefit as a universal benefit. Ministers have


let it be known they are not actually that bothered about


today's defeat in the Lords. They promise to overturn it in the


Commons and, in any case, I think they have rather successfully


managed to manoeuvre Labour on to the wrong side of public opinion.


However, this is really only half a political message. So much for the


economic pawns getting something for nothing on benefits.


What about the economic kings making all the money, squeezing the


middle, the other side. A report today looks at all those


in the middle, one all the parties are trying to target. The report


says those in the middle have become more and more squeezed over


the years, and spend 40% on essentials, 15% on housing costs,


13% on food and drink, and 13% on transport. If you look at how the


costs have changed, the middle has got more squeezed. Household fuel


has gone up 110% from 2000 to 2010. Council tax, over the same period,


up 67%. Gavin Kelly, of the Resolution Foundation, says all


parties are struggling to know how to help this group. For so many of


these people, to help them through the tax and benefit system, would


you need a lot of cash. You would have to find the cash from


somewhere else be clear where it is coming from, it won't be flowing


into the Treasury coffers through higher economic growth at the


moment. It takes to you the politics of distribution and hard


choices, that is not what any political leader wants to talk


about now. What about top pay? Today the Business Secretary gave


the Commons details of his plans to curb excessive pay. Business and


investors recognise there is a disconnect between top pay and


company performance, and that something must be done. His recipe,


more transparency, combined with more shareholder power, didn't


exactly go down too well with all of his coalition partners.


liberal, left-wing claptrap he has announced today, which even Labour


didn't do in 13 years. He has some how got through the coalition, in


the hope of a good headline, it has doing done nothing to increase


growth or employment in this country. This is a long political


game, the Government hasn't come up yet with a winning move. But


believes it has the right strategy. Assuming, of course, the bishops


don't get in the way. Earlier this evening I went to the


Department of Business to talk to Mr McCabe. What does it say -- Mr


Cable. What does it say that this Government is prepared to tax


people's benefits, but not willing to set a level for senior bankers'


pay? We are dealing with pay, both for bankers' and executives


generally. I was introducing a statement today on the wider issue


of the pay of senior executives. That has got out of control. That


is way in excess of performance and workers' pay. We have introduced a


set of measures, more clarity, and paorncy, votes for pension funds


and shareholders, and other rules that will change the culture.


is the appropriate ratio to senior executives' pay to average pay in


the country? It is not for me to define ratio. Why not? The reason


why not is that what's right and what's sensible varies in almost


every company. If you take two examples, retail company, employing


unkilled workers, you will have a big ratio. If you have another


company, outsorsd, all of its unkilled work -- outsourced, all of


its unskilled work to India, it has a good ratio. What is the ratio?


What is a good ratio, you have used the term? It is for the owners of


the companies to decide when they see it alongside a lot of other


information, which we will require them to publish. You don't have a


view? I would have a view about a particular company, if I had shares


in it. Which is why we are giving shareholders the responsibility of


deciding how their companies are actually being run. These changes


you have announced today will not, by themselves, cut a single


bankers' bonus, will they? Not in themselves, it will require the


shareholders of the banks to act on the information that will be out


there, and to vote on it. Yet you are willing to cut the benefits of


67,000 people in this country by an average of �4,000 a year? The issue


of benefits and executive pay are different issues, and need to be


tackled in a different way. Done by the same Government, on the same


day? The thing they have in common is the issue of fairness and


inequality. But the way we deal with major inequalties of income in


society is through taxation measures. Executive pay, which is


what I'm dealing with, is one corner of a much bigger problem.


you think Steven Hester should get a bonus of estimated over �1


million? What I have said and what the Prime Minister and other senior


ministers have said is he and other senior executives in the RBS,


predominantly publicly-owned, to exercise restraint over their


bonuses. They haven't come to a decision yet, the board. We are


making it clear they have to look at the wider context, that people


are suffering hardship and we expect restraint from them. What,


do you think will be appropriate? Let's get nearer the time when they


come up with their proposals, and the Government, as a predominant


shareholder can react to them. We haven't had them. The tax-payers


own this company? They do. You are our representative? Absolutely,


there are good reasons for exercising restraint. You said


putting in a restraint on executive pay was above your pay grade, whose


pay grade is it? From the top of the Government down we have


expressed a view that we expect restraint on pavement I don't


personally have direct responsibility for RBS. -- on pay.


I don't personally have direct responsibility for RBS, but along


with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor expect restraint. So it


is within the Prime Minister's pay grade? Absolutely. So the Prime


Minister can express a view on what Steven Hester should get, but you


can't? He has already expressed a view. I was trying to be jockular


in a somber occasion. Are you willing to intervene to stop


something you disapprove of? never back ward in expressing a


view in Government and outside. I have made it very clear, some of my


colleagues have made it clear, we expect restraint. We are already


seeing it. The bonuses are much reduced from what we have seen S


The tax-payers are the major shareholders, whittering on outside


won't get us anywhere? Government will express a view. The


other aspect of the management of RBS, as you know, the structure set


up kept the company, the bank, at arm's length from Government.


you know what the slogan is above your reception desk downstairs?


we talking about the department for growth. In this building, it is


"ripping up red tape", it says that in big letters in a red poster


above your reception. All you have done today is create more red tape?


This is something we have pursued in consultation with the business


community and the investors. The measures which we are proposing,


they consider to be something that is necessary, and they are happy to


work with. This is additional red tape, isn't it? There is sensible


regulation, which has been brought in. There is nothing inherently


wrong with regulation, we need it to protect consumers, the


environment and the work force. Where it is a problem is when it


becomes very bureaucratic. final point, also on this question


of fairness, what's happened to the mansion tax? It's under active


discussion. Is it going to happen? I can't tell you that. I know it is


a good idea, I have advocated it, my party has advocated it. It is


very fair, economically efficient, and contribute to Government


revenues. It is a debate going on. You have not won it yet? No, no.


But I always argue my case, and my party colleagues do too. Vincent


Cable, thank you. With us now is Liam Byrne, the


Labour Work and Pensions spokesman, and in a minute the Bishop of


Leicester and Margo James MP. Liam Byrne, most of the peers who


voted down this cap tonight were Labour peers. Is the party in


favour of the cap on benefits or not? Yes, we are. So these Labour


peers were, out of control or what? No, we think the bill is so badly


thought through, that there is a real risk that this policy, which


is a good idea, in principle, will backfire and dump council tax


payers with a new bill for homelessness. We want a few more


safeguards written in, before coming fully behind it.


expressed your support for the principle by voting against it?


principle of the bill was not voted on today. Labour put down Anne


mendment which said hang on, let's not -- an amendment which said hang


on, let's not put it through like that. Somebody has to pay for the


bill, and that person is the council tax pair, we don't want


that to happen. You think �26,000 a year in benefits may be too low a


cap? We think it is a good place to start. You have just voted against


it? What we did is put down an amendment which said, before the


cap kicks in, local authorities have to make an assessment if the


family will be made homeless, somebody has to pick up the tab for.


That the figures we released today will show housing benefit going up


over this parliament by �4 billion. That is driven by the Government's


failure to get people into work. Isn't this why your party is


suffering a credibility problem with the public, you say you


support things in principle, but when it comes to anything difficult


in prakti, you don't know what to do? We are very -- practice, you


don't know what to do? We are very clear on this. The Tories want to


pay party politics, and say it is a black and white issue, it isn't. It


is a complicated bit of legislation, with good idea at its heart, we


don't want the good idea to backfire, creating a whopping great


bill for homelessness, that the good hard honest taxpayer has to


clean up. When it goes through, it is a will when it comes back to the


House of Commons, where the Government has a healthy majority,


when it goes through, and it becomes law, an in coming Labour


Government would reverse it, would they? No, we would look at the


impact on homelessness, that is the risk we want to guard against.


would find out what you were talking about after someone had the


courage to make the decision? what we're saying is we think it is


foolish to proceed with a bill that your own Secretary of State for


Local Government has said...You Have just said you don't know what


the impact will be? In three years time when a Labour Government has


been elected we will know the impact, and what kind of mess in


terms of the homelessness bill we have to clear up. You might reverse


it or not? If the worst happens, which is what we fear. We think


there will be a big spike in homelessness, we think that will


put families, and children, out of their homes, and we think that is


going to present a big new bill for council tax payers. You would then


reverse it? We think the Government can see this coming. They are


playing politics with it a bit, we are saying don't play politics with


this, think it through, put in the right safeguards now. Do you think


the general public understands your position? We have to work hard to


explain it. Look, I don't make any apology for thinking through the


policy, rather than plunging ahead blindly. I think that is what we


are paid to go to work to do. with us, we have the Bishop of


Leicester here and Margo James, Conservative MP. Now bishop what is


it that gives you the right to obstruct a policy that clearly


seems to have terrific public support? The bishops have the same


right to speak and vote in the House of Lords as any other peer.


Indeed I think we have more than a right, we have a duty to speak


there. Particularly if, arising from situations in our own diocese,


we see there is something of an injustice being committed,


particularly to the children of the poorest families. Has it occurred


to you, if you want to frame laws, you might perhaps go to the


inconvience of getting elected? That is a debate about whether the


whole House of Lords should be reformed, and a fully elected House.


There is a draft bill, no doubt it will come before House in due


course, as it has the parliament functions as it has for 700 years


with bishops in it. With what authority do you obstruct the will


of Government on a policy that as tremendous public support?


amendment carried was carried by a majority of 20, which required 250


peers to vote. There were five bishops, 245 other peers. This was


not something just concocted by the bishops. Or create bid the bishops.


But the bishops sponsored the amendment because we saw it as a


matter of profound social justice. What do you think of what's


happened? I disagree in the Lords in passing this amendment. I think


the Government has wisely set the cap at average earnings, so let's


not forget there is a huge number of people who are going out to work


every day and earning less than this proposed capped amount.


Do you know how many children will, for whatever reason, as a


consequence of this, have to leave the family home, move house, in


some respect? I don't think many people have to move house.


don't know, do you? In the vast majority of areas. Do you know


bishop? I think we have every reason to suppose a Signum. It may


be thousands, ten -- a significant number. It may be thousands, tens


of thousands who can't continue living where they are. The majority


parts of the country have enough affordable accommodation in the


private and social housing sectors, to accommodate most people. In the


sad case where someone has to move, that is not something the ordinary


working family is immune from. In a family where both or one partner is


working, sometimes, when conditions get difficult, people have to move


house. They have to make choices, all we're saying is that those


choices should not be just the preserve of people who are working.


They have to make choices. People who are earning have to make choice


about where to live what they can afford to do. Don't forget this cap


is set at average earnings. point about the amendment is people


who are earning have the right to have child benefit. If you lose


your job, under these proposal, you are quite likely to have your


benefits capped and to lose your child benefit as well. That seems


to penalise the children of the poorest families. What do you say


to the people in your diocese, who are working hard, and who are


earning less than people are getting on benefits, what do you


say to them? I say to them, and I have this conversation with a


number of them. People who are in work, and who might fall out of


work, through no fault of their own, have every reason to suppose that


at that point the state will support them to a minimum standard


were they can at least keep their children housed and at school and


in their networks. At the moment a very significant number of families,


through absolutely no fault of their own. There was a great deal


of talk in today's debate about incentivising people back to work.


With three million unemployed you can't do that for everyone. We have


to support people through this very difficult period. No-one would


disagree with having to support people when they lose their job.


That is what the welfare state is for. That is why the cap has been


set as high as it has been, on average earnings. If you don't have


children, there is no way you would have benefits anything like to the


tune of �26,000 a year, the cap is bearing in mind that a lot of


people do have children. You are entirely comfortable with the


position your party has taken, where you can be specific about


pounds and pence when it comes to people on benefits, because you


refuse to be specific when it comes to bankers' bonuss? They are two


different things. We are taxing banks, the bank levy has brought in


more than the last bank bonus tax did. As you have seen from McCabe's


announcement today, there is a lot of -- Vincent Cable's announcement


today there is a lot of pressure on bankers' bonus, they are 40% in the


last two years. The majority of those working for state-controlled


banks are having their bonuses capped at �2,000. That is a lot


less than it used to be. Not the investment bank, that is not true,


of course, is it? �2,000 at RBS is the standard. I think it is


absolutely clear that the inequalties in our society are


widening all the time. Some of the poorest families are being


extremely hard hit, while they see the people at the other end of the


scale, getting richer and richer, faster and faster. The effect on


the general well being of our society is extremely damaging.


Thank you all very much indeed. For the Chinese community across


the world, today is the beginning of the new year festival, so the


rabbit gives way to the dragon. Dragon years are considered


exciting and unpredictable. Given the state of things in the world,


this might be one of the rare occasions when primitive


superstition matches reality. Nowhere is better place today face


challenges than the People's Republic of China. Where over a


billion people live under a communist Government in a country


that grows richer every day. It poses enormous challenges for the


rest of the world. I have just been there.


In 1793, Britain sent an official trade mission to Beijing. It didn't


go well. Britain was emerging as the


greatest power on earth. Inconveniently, inside the


Forbidden City, the Chinese Emperor was under the impression that was


his role. The leader of the trade delegation,


George Viscount McCartney, was keen to open up a massive New Market for


British manufacturing. -- new market for British manufacturing.


When he got there he brought forward Wedgwood pottery,


Birmingham metalware, the finest of instruments and a minature


planetarium. The Emperor was splendidly


dismissive. He looked at the cream of European science and


manufacturing, and he said, we have no need of things ingenious or


mechanical. China had everything if could possibly -- it could possibly


want, the trade mission was a disaster.


The Emperor may have been secure in his palace, but soon Britain could


afford simply to ignore the old boy. When the Chinese tried to stop


British merchants, the Royal Navy sent in gun boats. At the end of


the conflict, Britain could trade where she liked. Hong Kong was


her's, and the Chinese were embarked on what they called their


century of humiliation. There is a fourth opium war in 1880,


the second one in 1860 and after that it is the collapse of the last


Chinese dynasty. As Britain rose, China fell. Liu Jing is trying to


tell his country's past in comic book form. So you could say the


experience China had with western powers, especially Britain, in the


19th century, is very unpleasant. The hardest thing for a European to


appreciate is how very long the perspective is. Rise and fall. A


history of dynastic cycles that last thousands of years.


Periods of war and foreign invasion brought to an end by strong


Government. Whose policies sow the seeds of their own destruction.


Dynasties collapse, and the whole process starts again. So where are


we now? There is a very strong central Government. There's an


overall stability in society. People's living standards are


improving. There is the development that is very fast. So this is,


according to the history point of Chinese people really never have


had it so good. The gospel according to the Party is at the


end of a century of humiliation, was the achievement of Chairman Mao


moo and the communists. -- but and the communist, but fear


of dynastic collapse is hard to shake.


The old summer palace of the Chinese Emperor's, took generations


to construct. Then, in this supposed earthly paradise, a


Chinese Emperor had the temerity to seize and torture two British


envoys. If you ask the average British citizen what Britain did in


China, 150 years ago, but the chances are he or she couldn't tell


you. In fact, what Britain and France did was this. They took the


Emperor's summer palace and they destroyed it. They destroyed it


because the Emperor wouldn't agree to the demands of western kalalism.


The British may have -- capitalism, the British may have forgotten that,


but the Chinese haven't. The generation who will forge the


historically aware society, are in no doubt about the story the ruins


tell. Do you remember this as humiliation? Yes. For give but not


forget. China is become -- forgive but not forget, China is becoming a


very strong economy. In the west they fear that China will bully


them. We Chinese don't think so. you think China will become a


superpower? In the future, in the 21st century. Probably. I think,


yeah. As a Chinese, I would like to see it. You would like to see China


as a superpower? That means more responsibility, more influence on


this world. It doesn't mean more military threat to this world.


All this destruction was done in the 19th century, the 19th century


really was the century of the European imperial powers, the


British, mainly, but also the French. Who does the 21st century


belong to, do you think? For most people they say it is China's.


China can make the rise continue for another 15-20 years, and China


will inevitably become another superpower, because of the size of


its population. But the fear of chaos in this enormous country is


ever present. Even university professors believe the antedote is


firm Government. Which means the question of world status is a


political one. It is really decided by the Chinese Government, or the


Chinese political leadership. If the Chinese leadership can provide


a strong and creative leadership, for this country, and then this


country will move in that direction. If the political leadership is a


weak and directs the country in the wrong direction t may collapse at


any time. And where does this leave Britain? In the garden shed,


according to this animation. This seems to be how the Chinese see us


now. It hasn't gone quite to plan, the scheme was for the


manufacturing to be outsourced to the world's most populist nation,


while the clever, creative stuff, stayed in Europe. Not any more.


Britain likes to call itself the design capital of the world. Well,


get this, even the animations for the London Olympics are made in


China. The young people here don't see themselves as labourers, they


have set their sights on the clever, creative stuff done in Europe and


North America. This is not how complacent, western Governments saw


things developing. And history shows that economic gain is


generally the forerunner of political and military power.


My view is that when China gets the military capability, larger than


the US, the leadership will inevitably fall on China's shoulder,


no matter if they like it or not. Increasingly, the lucky ones in


China's megacities, live a life of unequivocal modernity.


The ambitions are grand, that China becomes a global centre, not just


for commerce and design, but for power and influence.


But can you have the freedom to create without the freedom to


think? My internet access only limited to the website which the


Chinese Government allows me to visit. In the cultural revolution,


Mao Yushi, was sent to be reeducated in the countryside and


almost starved to death. Mr Mao shares the same name as the great


leader. But Mr Mao has been named as a party menace, his offence? He


has written a book criticising the cult of Chairman Mao. If people


cannot even challenge history, can China really challenge the west? Do


you think that China will become a superpower in the sense that the


United States or the Soviet Union, as was, were superpowers? I don't


think so. China doesn't provide any hope, any hope for the ordinary


people in the world. Nobody would migrate to China. People want to


migrate to yuen Europe or Canada or Australia or the United States.


It doesn't have any attraction. So I don't think China can be a


This current dynasty looks likely to remain unchallenged, as long as


it continues to provide a level of comfort, unimaginable to China's


ancestors. For ordinary Chinese, the country's


international status is a lot less important than the prosperity


brought by this strange marriage of communism and capitalism.


There truly never has been a time in Chinese history, when the


country has got so much richer, so quickly. The industry of the world


has come calling, and this time, it's been allowed in. The world has


yet to see what China expects in return for its labour. But expect


something it certainly will. Viscount McCartney's trade mission


scuttled away from Beijing with what dignity it could. Claiming


there wasn't a single proper lavatory in the entire company.


That sort of abuse won't work any longer, and nor will military


adventurism. It is maybe time for the rest of the world to learn


something about the cycles of Chinese history.


Tomorrow night in another film I will be exploring what it is like


to live under a Government which allows people to get filthy rich,


but denies them the chance to change their system of Government.


But before that, our diplomatic editor and economics editor are


both here. First off, the amount of trade that the rest of the world


does with China, how big are the figures? There are two challenges


that face China, one is trade, the other one is the balance of what


drives its own economy. Let's have a look at the famous trade


imbalance. This is in manufactured goods, Chinese trade in balance


with the USA takes off when they join the WTO, $150 billion a year,


falls back in the recession. This drives the demand for the Chinese


currency to be freed up so Chinese goods can become dearer and


Americans can get their jobs back. But it is complicated, let's


animate the second line. This is China's trade balance with the rest


of the world, excluding America. So that includes Japan and the


European Union, it is not so bad. This is because, in part, China


itself is a massive importer. The actual complexity of this. It is an


America-China thing, we should remember that, more than China


versus the rest of the world. Now let's look at the internal balance.


This line shows the proportion of the chine naes economy that is


driven which investment -- Chinese economy that is driven, which


investment in housing, railways, by the Government, prie. Investment T


has approached 50% in the anti- crisis period, the fiscal stimulus,


their response to the crisis was to boost railway building and road


building. Let's have a look at consumption. This is Government and


private consum. As you see it has - - consumption. As you can see it


has fallen. China wants to boost its private consumption, so people


you saw in the film can start buying holidays and cars and


financial products. They agree they have to do it. Along the way, the


question, who gets what? Do the Chinese workers on �70 a month,


eventually get a kind of wage that makes western workers able to


compete with them. Mark, are we seeing this


translating into national, political power? Yes, there is a


tremendous raft of issues where western countries want to co-


operate fruitfully with China, particularly in the UN Security


Council, where China is one of the five permanent members, veto powers.


So on a whole raft of issues, from should sanctions on Iran be


extended, through to what do we do about Syria. All these things are


vietia. You talked about the cycles of history, the current party is


still among the view that Mao espoused, great power politics.


They rejected that, they saw themselves as leaders of the Non-


Aligned Movement against the packs- American piece. China has stood in


the way of votes on military action. The fascinating thing will be as


they develop more of a sense of themselves in a great power in the


coming years, whether they are moving away from being against


packs-America, to creating their own vision.


Have we any clues to that? Some people would say, in the region,


that they are rather concerned. They look for example at some of


the trappings of great power status that China is beginning to acquire.


Some of them harmless enough. The space programme. Scientific


progress, all of that kind of thing who could object to that. The


substantial increases in military spending do cause more concern. The


fact in recent months China's aircraft carrier has been at sea.


We can see some of the satellite images. This was a carrier the


Russians couldn't afford to finish that China bought and is now


commissioning. Some regional powers are worried about this. They are


thinking will China be exacting a more nationalist influence in terms


of China minorities and in the specific region. The Chinese


Government insists it is a taking a more full part in international


affairs, contributing to UN peacekeeping and that kind of thing.


But are some of these trappings of great power status going to be put


to more traditional, almost nationalistic objectives. If you


would be happy for a lifetime, grow flowers. The man attending to


Chino-British flowers is the Chinese Ambassador, he's with us


now. Happy new year. Let's try to define


the terms, are you a communist? we think China is the ruling party,


the ruling party is the communist party, but the communist party only


constitutes, and now we have 17 million party members. But you have


to remember that China is a country with 1.3 billion in its population.


I don't think you can call China a communist party, a communist


country. Are you a communist? as you would not call the UK a


Conservative country. You could call it capitalist country?


could say China a socialist country, with a Chinese characteristics.


That is a difference. Talking to young people in particular in


Beijing, I very strongly got the impression that they were pretty


optimistic about China's international role. They saw this


as a century which was developing very much in a way that was going


to make China a much more significant force in the world. Do


you think that? China will certainly contribute its part for


maintaining peace, prosperity of the world. But we do not see China


as a superpower. I would characterise China as the largest


developing country, which increasing international influence


and responsibility. But people look at what China does on the Security


Council, for example, over the question of, for example, you


opposed sanctions on Syria, sanctions on Iran, and they wonder,


you know, what you are trying to achieve? That's not correct


impression. In fact, China voted four times with other members of


the Security Council, on the issue of Iran. China is strongly opposed


to the Iranian nuclear programme. On the other hand, we believe


diplomatic and peaceful solutions are the most beneficial solutions


to the problem. It is in the interests of maintaining peace and


stability in the region. But do you accept that Iran is a potential


threat to world peace, a nuclear- armed Iran? I would say Iran with a


nuclear weapon is not in the peace, not in the interests of peace and


stability in the region. That is why China makes it very clear, from


day one, that we are strongly opposed to nuclear weapons


programme of Iran. That has been reaffirmed by the Chinese premier


in his recent visit. Why not impose sanctions then? There is already


sanctions in place, we don't think sanctions for the sake of sanctions


serve the purpose. We also encouraged diplomatic negotiations,


to engage Iran for a peaceful settlement. Do you think China has


a moral role in the world? I think China has a role to play in terms


of a voice for our opinions for a more peaceful, harmonious world.


What are you trying to promote, the United States, for example, says it


promotes, and will go to war, to promote democracy. What are you


trying to promote? We are promoting a harmonious world. We believe the


world will be more peaceful, prosperous, if all countries


respect each other, rather than to immos their own ideas and systems


on to others. Which believe mutual respect -- impose their own ideas


and systems on to others. We believe mutual respect and


accommodating, and mutual work for a common good and security are in


the interests of peace and stability of the world. We are


strongly opposed to any military sanctions. Military solutions.


What about economic power, China sits on this mountain of thrillions


of dollars worth of foreign exchange, what is that for? What's


that for. You know China is still relatively a poor country. Though


China now is number two in terms of GDP, after only the United States


now. But per cap at that GDP, China is still behind 100 countries.


There is several hundred billion living in the countryside. There is


still 155 million people living on under $1 US a day. This is a huge


poverty line. There is an enormous responsibility for the Chinese


Government to improve the livelihoods of those parts of the


population of China. Let as talk a little bit about the difficult


matter of human rights. Now Leymah Gbowee, the well known artist, says


-- Mr Wei Wei, the well known artist, says without free speech


you are living in barbaric world. Do you understand what he's


getting? I think he has the freedom to express his view, otherwise how


could you get his opinion on this. He has been in prison, of course?


He has been under investigations for his evading of tax, destroying


his accounting books. In any country this is, you know, if you


are in a country that is ruled by law, you have to respect, you have


to abide by the law. Nobody in the country ruled by law should be


above the law, or outside the law. Even this called well known artist,


he has to abide by the law. When he violated Chinese law, he should be


punished. There is no doubt about that. Even in Britain. He should be


free to say what he likes, shouldn't sne I think so. Otherwise


--? I think so. Otherwise how can you know his opinions on this issue,


if he's forbidden for voicing his opinions. Mr Ambassador, thank you


very much. Well now, that's it for now if you


are among our more northerly viewers, you may want to look out


the window for the glimpse of Northern Lights, they were seen as


far south of Yorkshire last night. We will leave you with some


# People think style # Rules our life


# Some people think otherwise # Where did you go


# On that big black night # Did you take the coast road


# Back through your life # She's the sand


# The moon the stars # That shine a light


# And say # And say


# They will do all right for me. Pretty cold outside overnight


tonight. As wet weather arrives, we will see snow for the morning.


Across the hills of southern Scotland into northern England.


Even at lower levels there could be snow, possibly as far south as


Lincolnshire and East Anglia. It shouldn't last long, but it will be


a cold grey day across the east. Temperatures 3-4. Miserable across


much of East Anglia and the south- east. Expect dull, cold and wet


conditions to last well into the afternoon. It is a bit milder


further west, temperatures reaching double figures, it is still grey. A


lot of mist around the coast sitting over the hills and the


moors, dull, damp, drizzley conditions persisting on the west


coast of Wales throughout the day. It is milder here, it is for


Northern Ireland, 10-11 Celsius, but a grey, dismal day. The west


coast of Scotland also grey and damp, in the east there could, for


a time be snow flurries. The weather will get milder for all


places, even the east, by the time we get to Wednesday. It is still


looking pretty grey. Cloud around, further outbreaks of rain on


Wednesday, particularly across Scotland and Northern Ireland. The


rain will slowly creep into parts of England and Wales. Much of


England and Wales, dry on Wednesday, but still dull. However, on


Wednesday, eastern areas will see much higher temperatures,


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