​Ninth UK-China Young Leaders Roundtable

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The ninth annual UK-China Young Leaders Roundtable was held in Beijing and Jinan from 28 July to 2 August 2019, focusing on innovation, environmental protection and sustainable development.

The Roundtable was established in 2010 by the Great Britain-China Centre and the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF) to build understanding among emerging politicians from both countries. The ACYF is a national umbrella organisation for a range of political and industry-focused youth bodies in China that is led by the Communist Youth League, the youth wing of China’s Communist Party and key development platform for future political leaders.

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The eight-member cross-party UK delegation was led by Andrew Gwynne MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who has led UK participation in the Roundtable for several years. The delegation included Conservative members of Parliament Luke Graham MP, the then Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Cabinet Office; Bim Afolami MP, then PPS to the Department of International Development; and Eddie Hughes MP, PPS to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.   

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Labour members of Parliament Paul Sweeney MP, Shadow Minister for Scotland and Mohammad Yasin MP also participated in the Roundtable, as did Dr Lisa Cameron MP, Shadow Scottish Nationalist Party Spokesperson for Mental Health. Benedict McAleenan, senior adviser on energy and environment at the London-based think tank Policy Exchange, also attended. Shadow Home Secretary the Rt Hon Diane Abbott MP, attended in an observer’s capacity.

The Chinese delegation was led by LI Keyong, the acting Vice President of the ACYF, and delegates included representatives from the ACYF and Communist Youth League, a range of government departments, academic institutions and Party-state affiliated non-governmental organisations.

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The theme for this year’s roundtable discussion was the environment, sustainability and innovation, areas in which the UK and China share many common objectives. Delegates from both the UK and China emphasised their commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the need for urgent action to mitigate impacts of climate change and protect biodiversity. Chinese delegates outlined China’s electric vehicle, renewable energy and recycling industries, and UK delegates asked questions about China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the environment.

The delegation met with HE Junke, the First Secretary of the Communist Youth League and the youngest person in China to hold ministerial office, and met with at vice-minister level with the  International Department of the Communist Party. Following engagements in Beijing, UK delegates travelled by high speed train to Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province. In Jinan, the delegation met with Shandong’s Ecology and Environment Department and went on a site visit to the city’s ecological water protection and management system.

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UK participation in the Roundtable was sponsored by Prudential plc and China International Capital Corporation UK. We are very grateful to for their generous sponsorship support, without which this political dialogue could not take place. The robust discussion at the Roundtable demonstrated the benefits of building understanding among emerging politicians from the UK and China as a foundation for long-term and robust political engagement.

Date posted: 09 October 2019

Categories: Political Dialogues


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