UK-China Leadership Forum

The UK-China Leadership Forum is GBCC’s flagship political dialogue. It is held alternately in the UK and China, and has become an established platform for informal, closed-door discussion and debate, ultimately developing the UK understanding of China’s reform programme, as well as generating new policy inputs into UK-China governmental relations.

Alumni on both sides have become ministers or been promoted to prominent positions. Six currently serving UK ministers are alumni of the Leadership Forum – including the Rt Hon David Lidington MP and the Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP. China’s current Permanent Representative to the UN, Liu Jieyi, also led the Forum on the Chinese side for many years before he moved to New York.

Jo Johnson And Jesse Norman 2013 Leadership Forum

Jo Johnson MP and Jesse Norman MP at the 2013 UK-China Leadership Forum

The purpose of the Forum is to provide a platform for politicians from China and the UK to:

  • Discuss, debate and establish respective positions on key domestic, bilateral and international issues;
  • Build lasting relationships between “movers and shakers” in the political world of both countries;
  • Help build the global comprehensive strategic partnership between the UK and China.

Yu Hongjun, Vice-Minister of the Party International Department, told an alumni event in Beijing in July 2014 that the Leadership Forum plays a unique role and has unique value in UK-China bilateral exchanges. He remarked that the Forum:

“has become an important conduit for strategic communication between the politicians of both countries, for sharing experience on political and governance issues and for building mutual understanding and trust.”

Regular attendee Liam Byrne MP, former Chief Secretary to HM Treasury said of the initiative:

“Because of our very different histories, the UK and China can so easily misunderstand each other. GBCC’s Leadership Forum initiative is a great way for our politicians to overcome the barriers.”

Richard Graham MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary China Group and a veteran of China-UK dialogue initiatives, believes that the Forum can help improve mutual understanding, and has said that:

“From very different starting points this event creates the opportunity for politicians from both sides to build relationships and swap ideas – vital bridges for the future of China-UK relations.”

The Forum is managed by GBCC and the International Department of the Communist Party (IDCPC), with funding provided by sponsorship from the private sector. For more information, see reports below from our most recent Leadership Forums.


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