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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  August 26, 2017 4:30pm-5:01pm BST

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five p:m., but now it is time for dateline london. welcome to dateline london. this week with brexit talks dazzled about to restart, has the blizzard of british policy papers dazzled or dazed the europeans? is china open to discussion or has the mood darkened for free—speech? could it be regime change in the gulf state of qatar? my guests, henry chu, international editor of variety, writer and broadcaster isabel hilton, editor of china dialogue, portuguese writer eunice goes, and abdel bari atwan, an authority on arab affairs. a warm work you all. british laws made by britishjudges, one of the
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themes that many in the league campaign campaign upon. but something it appears easy to free ourselves from the european court of justice. after the summer break, they will be a series of papers to absorb from the british team, including immigration, the irish border and that court. have the europeans been impressed 7 border and that court. have the europeans been impressed? they have been optimistic about the sudden outbreak of realism from the british government. the on other hand these petition papers were very strange. these were edition papers without decisions, they were just scenarios. the british government has no position. but there were some signs of realism in that the british government is ready to continue to contribute to the budget of the european union for as long as it is a member. there has been some
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welcome movement in the area of the authority of the european court of justice, and i think a fudge is going to be arranged. there is also some interesting noises about britain wanting to have a deep and special relationship with the european union, wanting to have also a special trade relationship with the european union, wanting to replicate the customs union. the noises pointed to a kind of fudge that suggests membership the single murky, but this happens at the same time when the home office sends deportation letters to european citizens, so the status of european citizens, so the status of european citizens has not been sorted, and of course the european union and britain have not agreed about the process of the negotiations. the eu would like to start with finding a solution about the budget, the status of european citizens, and the irish border. the british government wa nts to irish border. the british government wants to negotiate the future of the
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relationship. the irish border is interesting because one of the things that britain must think about in that context was how goods and people and services might be traded across the border once britain is out of the european union and the republic of ireland remains and the customers that land border. the europeans said we're not talking about that because that is the relationship. in a sense, their distinction is a little artificial, isn't it? let's not pretend that either side is a paragon of virtue in this discussion. both sides are trying to stake out a maximalist position is, which is part and parcel of a negotiation. this reminds me of the presidential campaign when people said we should not take donald trump literally be taken figuratively, or make the mistake of doing it the other way about. with negotiations like this we can get stuck on certain literal
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statements that perhaps figuratively mean something else. i agree with eunice goes, there is a sign of moderation, of more realistic notions of what the relationship could be. in terms of ireland, that is such a vexed situation from its political and religious and sectarian history that has to be grappled with by both the eu and britain. it is not in the interest of the eu that there should be friction long that border or unrest that could jeopardise the peace that has been fragile but raining. i think both sides need to be more realistic when they come to questions like that. isabel, do you hear realism back in the debate?” think the observation of eunice goes that the decision papers without position is spot on. government has great difficulty arriving at a position. the trajectory by which we
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got here was a series of promises of opportunity and very little discussion of who bears what. now they are in negotiations, what the pain is, and how it is shared, that will be the big political issue. done by a weak prime minister with a very slim majority and a divided cabinet. i think we will hear a lot of magical thinking still on the domestic british front, because the prime minister is not ready to have that conversation and it is a tough one. the automatic, notwithstanding the negotiations, in terms of reddish politics could be fractious. it could, and i think we will see this poll kicked down the road. we have a year. that is not going to happen. i think the most important thing is the lack of trust between this government and the european union. the people in brussels to not trust theresa may at all. isabel was
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absolutely right when she said it is absolutely right when she said it is a very weak government. they lost their majority in the parliament. the pound is losing its ground at more than 25%. britain is about to lose its greatest trade partner. i believe it is the curse. the point that those in favour of brexit make is that in the end the trading relationship was so strong that it is in nobody‘s interest for that to be jeopardised. the problem is you have to keep good relations. when i say lack of trust, europeans are saying, let's talk about the cost of the divorce. let's agree on it. 7a million. 74 billion. the divorce. let's agree on it. 74 million. 74 billion. sorry! briton shot itself in the foot by saying it does not want to be part of the signal market or the customs union. so when you are outside these two
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aspects of the european integration project you are killing off opportunities but also creating problems in ireland because the question of the irish border, the problem is created by the british position that we want a frictionless border but we are out of the single market and out of the customs union and it's not possible. so they attracted create a potentially new customs union between just as attracted create a potentially new customs union betweenjust as in attracted create a potentially new customs union between just as in the eu, this issue of direct jurisdiction of the european court ofjustice will end but some role for the court could remain. you talk of them as a fudge, but could these things be enough to get us through? they have such emotional resonance among the brexit here's that that's the problem. if you have a major trading relationship with the block like the european union, you need some means of arbitrating disputes. if you and i were to do a contract
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we would agree who would arbitrate a dispute. to paint the european court ofjustice as this dominant thing that imposes laws is nonsense. but you cannot roll that back with a group that theresa may has the biggest problem with, which is hardline brexiteers. some have been making a bit of noise in a more mollified direction saying it is not direct jurisdiction, mollified direction saying it is not directjurisdiction, there will be some kind of dispute resolution mechanism. but this is not the same as being underthe mechanism. but this is not the same as being under the thumb. i agree that the rhetoric has been so striking that to get anything that seems to climb away from a position is dangerous ground, but as you say, politics is the other? some of this will have to be come from ice. we will have to be come from ice. we will stay with the question of, lies ona will stay with the question of, lies on a different subject, and that is china, because cambridge university press phone itself caught between the lure of entering china and
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academic freedom. earlier in this month it accepted a request from beijing that politically sensitive articles about website should be blocked. a few days ago in reverse that position. izzy trend emerging? tell us about the background to this case and then things that are making able nervous. as you say, cambridge university press is the publisher of the china quarterly, a respected journal which comes out of the school of oriental and african studies. when they announced as a fait accompli that they had removed 300 articles from their website at the request of the chinese authorities, it is not clear which authorities, it is not clear which authorities, and also 1000 gaelic comic books had been removed. this was a major purge. there was howl of outrage from the academic community. but this is a road that has broken
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out four or five years into a tightening in china, increasing censorship, increasing ideological control from the chinese authority, and an increasing boldness from the chinese government that as china gets stronger not only is the party capable of imposing its view of history, it's very narrow ideological intellectual traditions and china, but can impose them on the rest of the world. if you want to publish in china, as newspapers have found, you have to weigh up your international reputation against the market. the new york times when they published things and the corruption and private wealth of the corruption and private wealth of the leading members of the party they were immediate li blocked in china. had they backed down would have suffered a tremendous loss to their international reputation, and thatis their international reputation, and that is what cambridge university press was facing. they made a wrong
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call, as it turned out, and they have suffered a lot of reputational damage. but it goes further. chinese authorities routinely screen out international academics from conferences, not only in china, but the tightest of them presenting papers at conferences elsewhere. and in the academic community there has been mounting alarm at the chinese communist party's attempts to impose one view of history, to completely exclude a whole bunch of topics like tibet, taiwan, tiananmen square, the cultural revolution, because the party has to maintain its position in china which says, we are going to rule china forever, and this is why. that means excluding all negative past history and everyone is expected to swallow it. what the we st expected to swallow it. what the west has to decide is, are we going to swallow this? what i found so troubling about this case is that
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blocking western media, with the new york times or other publications, that has been ongoing for years, nothing new. when i lived in china 15 years ago those sites were blocked. but 15 years ago academic freedom is beginning to flower, and this was an area where it seemed that there could be real cooperation and will be delving into issues between china and the outside. with that tightening, that is a real sign that tightening, that is a real sign that this new regime under xi jinping is not putting any dissent are different view than what it wa nts to are different view than what it wants to put forward. the fact there is this party congress coming up in october, the 90th anniversary of the founding of the people's liberation army, that is contributing to this ideological restriction that some people are hopefully seeing will then be loosened after this is over. i don't think so. i think we have a regime that insists on ideological purity and we will see more of it.
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you said 45 years, which takes us more or less to the time when president xijinping more or less to the time when president xi jinping took office. very much driven by his prospective? absolutely. and there have been leaks of documents, the notorious document nine which somebody went to jail for a leaking, which was explicit rejection of western values, as they call it, so that included rule of law, it included what they call the nihilistic view of history, which is the freedom to explore history from any angle, it included freedom of speech. those are explicit enemies of the party as the party sees it. it is returning to the leninist principles in a bizarre way. abdel bari atwan, one area this has caused consternation is in hong kong. there has always been a debate about how one country in two systems would function. written are supposed to be a cold guarantor of the freedom of hong kong and that will continue to cooperate under this system. is britain making enough of that role?
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is it speaking out enough on these issues? because dissidents complain that they can not get to speak to british ministers even if the come to britain. i don't believe britain is doing its rule here. staying away gradually from hong kong and even from china, now china is a strong power, the economy in the world. they are gaining confidence now and they would like to send a message, here we are. for the first time china used the security council veto dummett eight times. for tens of years they did not involve themselves in any international crisis, the other at stained or did not take any action at all. so now the message is very clear. we are not a western democracy, we do not believe in western democracy, we have our own way to handle things,
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and either you respected or go to hell. that is the message, it is clear. i have experience with them. my book on al-qaeda was published, and they don't care. after ten years of publishing the book now they realise there is a book called the secret history of al—qaeda. the message is very clear. they are not a western democracy. it worked for us, now a western democracy. it worked for us, now we are a western democracy. it worked for us, now we are the second biggest power, so why not? that is the message. this nervousness is to do with them not being clear on what they are. are the communist party state? b. they are. are the communist party state ? b. look like they are. are the communist party state? b. look like a communist party. readers should be sure well up party. readers should be sure well up at not downwards. they are state capitalists. so they have reverted toa capitalists. so they have reverted to a lot of imperial traditions that these to denigrate and despise. that's interesting, because there is a longer history that predates the communist party. is something
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cultural but we in the west have not fully grasped? or is that an excuse? it is about modernity. for 100 years china has been arguing with itself about who owns the state, ever since the 1911 revolution. on the streets in 1911 people were calling for science and democracy, they still are, 100 years later. the other interesting and perhaps worrying aspect is that since china joined the wto that was this great hope that soon china would become a democracy, capitalism would bring democracy. actually what is happening is that china is transforming the west. the west is not very assertive in its dealings with china. and it is quite shocking the number of media companies who have not only bode to the requests of censorship coming from the chinese government but have actually helped the chinese government to arrest dissidents. yahoo is a case
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in point. it is worrying when academic publisher who is supposed to bea academic publisher who is supposed to be a little bit above profit—making, which they are not, clearly, is ready to revoke any claims to be a defender of academic freedom for access of a huge market. economy plays a major role here. look at shanghai, the other cities, they are prospering. and it is a huge market. many people think twice before the take any steps, even the british government here, they know it isa british government here, they know it is a dictatorship, they know they are banning the press and the arresting dissidents, but despite that they would like to do business. i wouldn't be surprised if for example cambridge university said, 0k, example cambridge university said, ok, we have good business with them. if governments are doing so, the universities do the same. the
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reality is, it is quite clear from i'iow reality is, it is quite clear from now on reality is, it is quite clear from now on there is going to be less access to that market for foreign companies. the dream of the chinese market, which the chinese have used to devastating effect to get their way, is actually fading. we sell three times as much to ireland as we do to china. let's kowtow to ireland instead. the development of china is undeniable, and because of the primacy that has been pressed on that around the world, it has been able to market notjust its economic model but its political model as well. you see it has influenced the west, also other countries whether it is turkey are part of asia that say, look, we can become economically prosperous without political liberalisation, and that is dangerous. and they're having a massive role in africa. that's right, but taking about that long view the channels to take going on about its 5000 year history, even taking the last 100 years that isabel pointed out, anyone that
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studies china knows that they have periods of tightening and period of liberalising and then periods of tightening. i don't know i would feel confident making a kind of prediction in terms of 20 years where we will be. will it have tightened further or undergone another liberalisation? it's very ha rd to another liberalisation? it's very hard to say. the story was comes to mind about the chinese politician who was asked about the outcome of the french revolution and said, it is too soon to say. we have talked before about the stand—off between a number of gulf states and qatar, has been watching this closely and you are detecting signs of regime change? the conflict started with media war between saudi arabia and its allies against carter and they presented about 13 demands for cat that they have to apply or else, stopping financing terrorism, now
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there is a huge step forward for routine change in qatar. it seems negotiation between the sides failed completely, so now saudi arabia is grooming and other prints from the royal family, they want to split the royal family, they want to split the royal family, they want to split the royal family of qatar, and they believe this prince should replace the current one. this is the most dangerous thing. if this happens, i will be sent into power? reinstate him in power? because he belongs to the founder of qatar, part of the royal family. are they planning for an internal military coup or political revolution or popular revolution? are they going to carry him and tanks into doha was? we
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don't know. the most important thing, they are very serious, and they are giving this man all the authority. they are creating a parallel government. it is it's really dangerous. there were reports after the confrontation began that the emyr was becoming almost like a p0p the emyr was becoming almost like a pop star on the streets of the capital, people were putting up his portrait, singing his praises, that they admired him for taking a stand against this pressure from outside. has that changed ? against this pressure from outside. has that changed? it is not changed, but we have to remember it is a tribal society, these tribes are divided between saudi arabia, hazard, the emirates. the good play oi'i hazard, the emirates. the good play on the tribal nerve. we could also split the royal family, and there
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are always disputes in these royal families. there are groups in power and groups outside. qatar witnessed the rear for military coup, so we don't know what will happen. it is deadly serious, tata is under blockade, and al lodging a huge war. whether it was exceeding not... the outcome is a huge mess. this part of the world used to be the most stable part. it is very wealthy, very rich, the people of the same, same attitudes, same background. but for the first time there was an earthquake hitting the whole area. where it will last we do not know. just one example. if you tweet sympathising with three in saudi
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arabia or the united arab emirates, you could be in prison for years. and huge fine. so things are really developing for the worst. but short of developing a government in exile are preparing a government takeover, there are things these other countries can do but they have not, for example imposing sanctions. they have not taken that route. it seems it is actually a stand—off, there is no upper hand on either side. i don't know there is a good outcome necessarily, but it has escalated to appoint yet it seems we're... necessarily, but it has escalated to appoint yet it seems we're. .. when it comes to terrorism, all these countries were financing and supporting some kind of terrorism in syria, iraq... this is not the problem. the real problem which is facing them, qatar is a small nation, 300,000 population, and one of the richest if not the richest
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country on earth. not least its sovereign wealth fund which spends more than many european countries. they have around $320 billion sovereign fund. they are rich and they know how to buy their own people to make them happy. the problem is that the blockade are starting to hurt. and that starts to change. and people now say, why should we be besieged? saudi arabia and its allies, egypt and bahrain and its allies, egypt and bahrain and the united arab emirates, they say, we have time, we are well established, qatar is besieged, let them rot. i think we have to be careful with this talk, because the potential for instability is absolutely huge. there is no guarantee whatsoever, and this is what the saudis have to think about, that the population of qatar will support a prince that is a stooge of the saudis. it is likely that the actual population will support the
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current year. but the other aspect of all this is the original implications of this instability, as we implications of this instability, as we have in one hand qataris being supported by turkey, iran, there is a strengthening the relationship with iran, and israel is more or less on the side of the saudis, but there were previous relationships with qatar, so it is hugely complicated and the potential for instability is huge. the short-term effect has been to drive qatar into the arms of iran, restoring field of dramatic relationsjust the arms of iran, restoring field of dramatic relations just this week. and i wonder had president trump as my visit to saudi arabia not given such explicit encouragement to this action whether we might not.” believe he gave the green light because when he went to saudi arabia had promised him $460 billion and he was very happy, he went back to the united states saying i have brought jobs. the laughter leave there. two
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abdel bari atwan, to eunice goes, henry and isabel, thank you for joining us and join us here same time next week. goodbye. august has often been unsettled, but it looks like the final weekend is delivering sunshine. this august has often been unsettled but it looks like the final weekend will deliver many of us some sunshine. that was the case earlier today in rutland, and that theme continues tomorrow and into the bank holiday weekend. we've had a few showers across scotland and parts of northern ireland, some across northern england and wales, but the showers are losing their energy into this evening and it becomes mainly
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dry overnight. clear skies and with light winds that will mean patchy mist and fog, not a cold night, temperatures 12 to 16 from north to south. high—pressure tomorrow, but this front to the north—west will increase the cloud, bringing patchy rain to scotland through the day, but away from here a lot of dry weather and good amount of sunshine once we lose any early morning mist and fog. it will cloud over across western art of scotland through the day is at front moves across, a cooler feel in the sunshine for the site. it looks like there will be good conditions for the notting hill carnival through sunday and the bank holiday monday. away from scotland it is a bank holiday monday to start the new week. it will be dry as the area of pressure continues, but there will be some outbreaks of rain to northern ireland, scotland and also increasing the cloud,
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but for the south there will be sunshine and warmth. it will be cool under the cloud and rain in the north—west. temperatures around 17 or 18. 22-23 in the west, 25-27 across the south—east of england. hurricane harvey has now been downgraded to a category one hurricane and will soon become a tropical storm, so the wind is easing but the rainfall is the concern. a lot of rain, perhaps up to a metre in places, that will bring some devastating flooding, some life—threatening flooding, which we will keep an eye on over the next few days. this is bbc news. the headlines at 5pm: eight people have died in a crash involving a mini bus and two lorries on the mi near milton keynes. counterterrorism police say a man it
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used deliberately driving at officers also has a four long sword. gas was used as part of the arrest. during the struggle, the individual repeatedly shouted the words ali akbar. torrential downpours as hurricane harvey hits texas — with reports of 42 centimetres of rain falling in one area. thousands of rail passengers face disruption as major train stations are affected by bank holiday engineering work. also in the next hour — lewis hamilton equals michael schumacher‘s all—time pole position record. the formula one star reached the landmark in qualifying for tomorrow's belgian grand prix.
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