• Sat
  • Aug 23, 2014
  • Updated: 6:50am

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

Good to see this new with details description
Also it is fruitful for readers with both article and photos, good good good
Thankfully there are great people like Germans in the world who use machine guns on others with machine guns, and not pointy sticks and rocks. The great empire consisted of land taken from pygmy savages who couldn't do much more than chuck rocks at the cowardly imperialists....
The Krauts are the scum of the earth.Their ancestors murdered millions of Jews.This great nation of cowards did not spare the elderly,women and children.
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....
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.
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.
How about this: It is problematic for the US to have tiny Britain and tiny Japan as "allies", as nations, they are proven to be rather schizophrenic and may even have grandiose delusions. I would rather the US be hanging out among equals, such as China and Russia.
Imagine the people in the Mainland China would ask their government questions about exactly these true and verifiable facts about the UK. This is the reason why this "state-owned" newspaper, as an instrument of the Chinese government needs to tell its people that the UK is not worth going there and that they have to understand that the UK has nothing more to offer.
To paraphrase the Global Times, "Britain is not a big power and is only a destination for Chinese people to study and travel."
So why even bother to go there for study and travel in the first place?
I'd rather live with a 'little power' than associate myself with a self-proclaimed 'great power' who is having illusions about itself.




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