China has threatened to retaliate against the UK—so why hasn’t it?

Is China’s bark worse than its bite?

Officials in London may be asking themselves that question as they take stock of the UK-China relationship. Since the start of the pandemic, prime minister Boris Johnson has: sided with the US in banning Chinese tech giant Huawei from Britain’s 5G network; extended a “path” to citizenship to millions of Hong Kong residents in response to China’s imposition of a security law there; and extended an arms embargo on Hong Kong, while entertaining the possibility of sanctioning Hong Kong officials.

In response, Beijing’s ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming said the UK will “bear the consequences” if it interferes in China’s internal affairs, while the Chinese foreign ministry said that Britain’s Huawei ban “must come at a cost.”

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