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'Love of my life': Lord Bates and Li Xuelin on their wedding day in 2012 Li Xuelin has always been a woman in a hurry

"Jerrell Stone" (2020-08-04)


'Love of my life': Lord Bates and Li Xuelin on their wedding day in 2012

Li Xuelin has always been a woman in a hurry.

But perhaps on her wedding day, she allowed herself a moment to reflect on her dizzying, though carefully calibrated, journey from communist China to the heart of the British Establishment.

After exchanging vows on July 20, 2012, she emerged from the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster on the arm of Conservative peer Michael Bates.

There was at least one Cabinet Minister present, and though they couldn't make it, then Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha sent a ‘warm' congratulatory letter.

Few of China's citizens were now better placed than smart and glamorous Xuelin to influence UK politics - though she denies working to further the regime's interests in Britain.

Since arriving in London in 1989 fresh out of a Chinese university and with just £50 to her name, Xuelin had networked her way to a key role as an adviser to Cameron's Government.

And now she could call herself Lady Bates, with all the trappings the title bestows.

Love can blossom in the most unlikely places.

Li Xuelin met her husband - ‘the love of my life' - at a dinner she was hosting for, of all people, the Speaker of the North Korean parliament. Lord Bates, a former MP and Minister, had long been interested in the secretive state. He was also a friend of its closest ally, China.

A new book, Hidden Hand, names Xuelin, 56, as ‘a prominent influencer on China matters' and claims she has succeeded in positioning herself close to Britain's top elites, where she could spread a ‘Chinese perspective'.

The book argues that the Chinese Communist Party has infiltrated the UK Establishment and says Lord Bates was at Chinese president Xi Jingping's meeting with the elite of the CCP's British friends, along with prominent faces from the pro-Beijing 48 Group Club, of which Bates is a fellow.

Royal connections: Li Xuelin with Prince Charles in 2017

Since her wedding, Lady Bates has continued cultivating top political contacts, while simultaneously highlighting CCP policies, including the flagship Belt and Road initiative, the infrastructure project cited by critics as a worrying example of China's global expansion.

In what Hidden Hand describes as ‘one of the clearest signs of the CCP's faith in her', Xuelin was executive vice-president of the UK Chinese Association for the Promotion of National Reunification, the British chapter of the Beijing body which promotes the CCP's position on Taiwan. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually become part of the mainland again.

And Xuelin was vice-president of the council of the Zhejiang Overseas Exchange Association, which the book says was an affiliate of the United Front Work Department, 실내 인테리어 the CCP agency tasked with liaising with Chinese expats. 

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