• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 7:27am
NewsChina
DIPLOMACY

Tiny old Britain? It's only good for study and travel, says China's state media

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 12:26pm

As British Prime Minister David Cameron launched a charm offensive at Shanghai Jiao Tong University yesterday, a state-owned newspaper derided the United Kingdom as merely a destination for Chinese students and tourists.

During the 40-minute meeting with students from the alma mater of former president Jiang Zemin , a relaxed Cameron took questions from the floor. The approach paid off.

"He exhibited humour, confidence and clarity of thought," said Zhang Yang, a student at Jiao Tong. "We enjoyed the open atmosphere and his style of talk."

When Cameron revealed that his old tutor at Oxford University, Vernon Bogdanor, criticised his work via e-mails even 25 years after he had left the university, the 300-odd students burst into laughter.

Vote now on our poll: Britain is no longer a 'big' power and is only good for tourists and students. Do you agree with China state media's assessment?

Cameron is leading a 100-strong business delegation to China to encourage investment and he has posted pictures of his meeting with top businessmen, including Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, on his Facebook page.

A Global Times commentary described the UK as just "an old European country" that is only a destination for Chinese people to study and travel. It said the UK was "not a big power in the eyes of the Chinese".

It was headlined: "China won't fall for Cameron's 'sincerity'." Beijing was outraged when Cameron met the Dalai Lama last year. "Beijing needs to speed up the pace of turning its strength into diplomatic resources and make London pay the price for when it intrudes into the interests of China," the article said.

Cameron said he had told President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang that Britain was an open market for China's high-speed-railway builders.

"We think we have a lot to learn from China in this regard," he said. "My government has taken a very clear view that the countries that will succeed in the future are the countries with the most modern infrastructure."

In an apparent effort to strike a chord with his young audience, Cameron used a Chinese proverb - "one generation plants good trees and the next generation can enjoy the shade of them".

Asked to comment on the central government, Cameron said the leadership had to give priority to the "many" low-income people to enable them to benefit from economic growth.

Meanwhile, Beijing denied it had sought to target the Bloomberg news organisation by barring its reporter Robert Hutton from a joint event with Cameron and Li on Monday.

Cameron's office said that before the event, it had "raised concerns at senior levels and made clear it would be completely inappropriate to exclude journalists from the press statements".

Bloomberg's website has been blocked on the mainland since it reported last year on the wealth of Xi's family.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: "We try our best to satisfy the needs of other journalists, because the site is limited there, and the arrangements we made in accordance with such requirements were no different from before."

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

 

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This article is now closed to comments

Brit_in_China
I am British, 48, left the UK in 2005 and set up a factory in China - now have USD 12m sales, 132 people, no borrowings, and growing at 32%. The reason I did this was simple: Britain is completely wrecked economically. It was people like Cameron that wrecked it over the last one hundred years. He and his class have absolutely no concept of how to run a country. The Chinese Government however is creating an economic behemoth. Here are the key differences between Britain and China as I see it: 1. PRC owns or controls the banks - therefore they control the size of the money supply - therefore they can ensure smooth straight-line economic growth. 2. PRC respects the wealth creating properties of industry and manufacturing. Cameron really struggles to even get the word 'manufacturing' out of his mouth without shuddering. To be an Engineer in the UK is to feel like a third class citizen. 3. PRC has a long-term practical development plan. They are in control. The UK has no plan at all. Nothing. It is tumbleweed rolling past the 'last chance' saloon in the British Parliament. I am proud to be British, I am proud of my country and its heritage; but I am seething with anger at the incompetence, rank stupidity, and political corruption of the British ruling establishment. I would love to go back and change this situation, but I am too busy growing my business in China.
Asynsis
Britain created the modern world we live in: multicultural, well-travelled & open, pluralistic British society has a rich, globally-spanning history that encourages free thinking, rigorously rational thought, innovation & imagination.
The three-piece suit worn as formal attire all over the world was invented in Piccadilly, London by Beau Brummell, as an adaptation of the military tunic, so the source & inspiration behind global men's fashion, was first designed in Great Britain.
Asynsis like all "big-ticket, high value" British design, (as UKTI calls our Hong Kong Spin design), exemplifies & celebrates British creative thinking (balancing both Art & Science - Divergent-Irrational & Convergent-Rational thinking-of Simplexity, of the Asynsis principle), at its very best. ****about.me/asynsis
Britain's genius has been to dare to be different, to be optimal in design solution-seeking, and then to spread that free thinking and world-transforming innovation & design all around the world, to help the world to "flow more freely - & in Chinese terms, to enhance its Qi-flows" (for example, both Capitalism and Marxism were invented in London, & have since been positively transforming & developing China with great success over the last two generations).
British design contributions to global prosperity & enlightenment continue via the global operating system of the viral English language, Apple's Jony Ive, the global library that is the World Wide Web & now the Asynsis principle.
hkhk
Ha. Yeah, right "Global" Times.
wailunscmp
Typical Han Chinese arrogance and ignorance: belittling other races and nations. Loooks like Chinese people never learn from their past mistakes.
It seems incredulous that such a "little Britain" can wield so much power and influence in the global stage, much to the envy and changrin of China. It's not the size of your population or your GDP that matters; it's soft power that influences the world
caractacus
The UK has the world's 6th or 7th largest economy. Per capita its GDP is 6 times that of China. It is the centre of the world's insurance markets and 2nd biggest financial market. That is all based upon verifiable published statistics whereas China's data is highly questionable. The UK is also a far, far better place to live, where people have civil liberties, human rights and a host of other freedoms Chinese can only dream about. The UK's benefits include the rule of law, free and fair elections, freedom of expression and movement, not being subject to arbitrary arrest, torture, execution, unlawful confiscation of livelihood and property, rampant corruption and a host of other evils perpetrated by a regime which the people have no right to question or change.
Remitting Prosperity
It is true that we British are not a great power any more, indeed we have not been since the 1950s really. However, it is not really very welcoming of the Chinese government to use one of its newspaper mouthpieces to make rude remarks about us just when Cameron is visiting. Xi Jinping gets more like Qianlong in his attitudes every day. The demand for a kowtow cannot be far off....
Dai Muff
Nationalism is bunk. The hobby and pride of little people. Whatever the nation.
lucifer
I would put money on it that the U.K. could still kick China's A$$ in war.......
skywalker
All British people should do what the Chinese people are normally doing when there are negative comments about Chinese in the Media (like that "kill all Chinese" comment or the comments in that Dutch TV Show about the Chinese singer): Stage world-wide protest against China and the Chinese and demand that this "state-owned" newspaper is being closed down.
I am so proud that British people in general have a higher intelligence and sovereignty, so that they can take these things just as nothing, not being angered by this and still have sympathy for China.
goncalo
China on the other hand is neither good for tourist nor for students.

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