Invoking a speech former prime minister Margaret Thatcher gave at the Heritage Foundation 25 years ago, the chairman of the United Kingdom's Conservative Party warned that a united Western alliance will be necessary to confront the Chinese Communist Party.
Oliver Dowden, who assumed the party leadership role last year, said at a speech for the Heritage Foundation on Monday that conservatives across the globe "must find the confidence to mount a vigorous defense of the values of a free society" in the face of growing threats from China. He rooted his argument in the success found by former president Ronald Reagan when he collaborated with Thatcher in the 1980s, helping bring about the end of the Cold War.
"The enemies of the West are finding fresh confidence in their eternal battle against liberty," Dowden said. "So conservatives themselves must find the confidence to mount a vigorous defense of the values of a free society."
Dowden warned of a "tendency of democracies to relax when the worst appears to be over" and said this appears to be happening with the rise of China.
"The idea that Beijing's partial embrace of free markets would automatically lead to greater social and personal political freedoms has proved to be breathtakingly naïve," Dowden said.
To solve the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party, Dowden pointed to battles his colleagues have already won. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership, the United Kingdom has "taken a tough stance on China’s assault on democracy in Hong Kong and its outrageous abuses in Xinjiang province." Dowden touted his work as digital secretary to ban Huawei—a Chinese telecommunications giant sanctioned by the United States—from Britain’s 5G networks.