British Foreign Office Cuts Funding to China Centre

By Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.
July 1, 2022 Updated: July 4, 2022

The U.K.’s Foreign Office has decided to cut its funding to the Great Britain–China Centre (GBCC), it emerged on Thursday.

The Spectator magazine quoted a statement from the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), which confirmed the decision, citing financial reasons.

The GBCC later confirmed that it has not received formal notification of the decision.

Established in 1974, the GBCC is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the FCDO that works to strengthen the UK–China relationship by brokering dialogues between the British government; Parliament; and legal, judicial, and academic sectors with their Chinese counterparts.

The GBCC has primarily been funded through the Official Development Assistance from the FCDO, the European Union, and bilateral donors, and through corporate sponsorship.

According to the centre’s latest annual report (pdf), published in October 2021, the FCDO grant-in-aid to the GBCC has been confirmed at £500,000 ($603,000) for the 2021–2022 financial year.

The report also said the grant would cover 61 percent of the GBCC’s budgeted core operating costs, with the rest to be covered by “earnings from externally funded projects and sponsorship and if necessary from reserves.”

On June 30, The Spectator quoted an FCDO statement, confirming that it decided to stop funding the GBCC.

“Due to the current fiscal climate, including reductions to Official Development Assistance, we have made the decision to end FCDO grant-in-aid funding to the GBCC,” the FCDO was quoted as saying.

“We are rebalancing the aid budget to give the UK more control over how exactly the budget is spent on our key priorities supporting women and girls, honest and reliable investment, and delivering humanitarian aid,” it added.

In an email to The Epoch Times on July 4, the GBCC said it had not received any formal notification that says the FCDO funding has been stopped or when it will stop.

The FCDO’s decision comes as the UK is dealing with “post-COVID, Ukraine-exacerbated inflationary pressures.” It also comes after British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned the Chinese communist regime against making a “catastrophic miscalculation” by invading Taiwan.

Speaking at the NATO summit in Madrid on Wednesday, Truss said Beijing is in danger of making the same mistake that Russian President Vladimir Putin made in Ukraine.

Calling on the alliance to help Taiwan defend itself in April, the foreign secretary also said the free world also needs to “recognize the growing role that the economy plays in security,” naming Russia and China.

She warned that the economic and military rise of China over the last 40 years will reach a gridlock unless the ruling regime plays “by the rules.”

NATO on Wednesday named China for the first time as one of NATO’s strategic competitors—countries that challenge the alliance’s “interests, security, and values,” and “seek to undermine the rules-based international order.”

The FCDO didn’t respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

The report has been updated with the GBCC’s response.

Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.