Brotherly chats give little away

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 April, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 April, 1995, 12:00am

CHINESE Foreign Minister Qian Qichen may hold the key to the Sino-British log jam over the future of Hong Kong, but the only thing his brother knows about the territory is that it is 'small and busy'.

Qian Qiao, the youngest of the Qian family, was in Hong Kong yesterday to promote the 43rd World Table Tennis Championships.

But, rather than being an ambassador for ping-pong diplomacy, he professed complete ignorance of politics.

Asked about his impression of Hong Kong, Mr Qian, who is on his second visit, said: 'It is a busy place, it is small and a bit congested.' He attributed his limited knowledge to the fact that his more famous brother seldom discussed work during family get-togethers.

'We have few chances to meet each other and, when we have time, we talk about family matters,' the 62-year-old retired physics professor said.

Although the famous ping-pong diplomacy of the 1970s succeeded in breaking a previous Sino-American diplomatic deadlock, Mr Qian said sports and diplomacy were now two different arenas.

'Sport is sport and diplomacy is diplomacy, they are two very different things,' he said.

'But ping-pong does help to promote international friendship and, from this angle, one can say that it does play a role.' Despite his active involvement in promoting the sport, Mr Qian, the vice-director of the championships' organising committee, said table tennis was not his favourite sport.

'When it comes to keeping fit, I think swimming is better for health,' he said.

'As to my older brother, the only exercise he does is walking.'