The Future of UK-China Relations

The Search for a New Model

Kerry Brown

£65.00  |  $90.00
ISBN 9781788211567
£19.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781788211574
£19.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781788211581
144 pages   |  234 x 156mm   |  30 April 2019


"This book is a much needed wake-up call. Post-Brexit, Britain will need to reset its relations with China. Kerry Brown has performed an important service by providing some clear thinking on the foundations necessary for the UK to devise a new range of policies for its relations with China in a much changed world." – Charles Parton, Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute, and formerly the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Special Adviser on China

"In this remarkably timely book, Kerry Brown shows us that there is an extraordinary knowledge imbalance in the relationship between China and the UK. And as the UK recalibrates its long-established international relationships, it will need to up its game on China as a matter of survival. This book must act as a crutch – a compass, a lodestar – for the UK as it sets out on this long, arduous and absolutely necessary new journey." – Tim Clissold, author of Mr China and Chinese Rules


At a time when both China’s role in the world is becoming the focus of international business strategy and Brexit is pushing the UK to look to the rest of the world for trade and investment, Kerry Brown assesses the potential for a new “golden age” of UK–China relations.

For too long, Brown argues, China has been regarded with indifference by the UK, despite a well-established relationship stretching back some 200 years. Now, more than ever, Britain needs to actively engage with China and seek to understand China’s ambitions. This entails a radical change of mindset, vocabulary and attitude, as well as establishing a clear vision of what the UK wants from a resurgent global China, beyond trade and money.

Brown shows that our future relationship with China is deep with symbolic meaning and will have reverberations throughout the world, as either a sobering example of what a world run on Chinese values might look like, or as a model of how to successfully rebalance a sudden asymmetrical dependence on a newly powerful China. It is one, however, that requires the UK to question some of its own national myths and the story it tells about itself, as well as to learn about a new power with a very different history and set of values.


Foreword by Tim Clissold
1. Tales from the golden age
2. What does China want? The case of the UK
3. Walk on by: what does Britain really want from China?
4. Who cares? The China circle in Britain
5. The good, the bad and the Brexit: Britain and China outside the EU
6. The UK and China: scenarios for the coming decade
Appendix: The UK–China balance sheet

Author Information

Kerry Brown is Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London. He was previously Professor of Chinese Politics and Director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Between 1998–2005 he worked at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including three years as First Secretary at the British embassy in Beijing. His recent books include Contemporary China (2013), Hu Jintao: China’s Silent Ruler (2012) and Ballot Box China (2011).

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