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  • Jul 26, 2014
  • Updated: 9:59am

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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All great powers have it peak and trough throughout history.
Just remind the Global Times that 100 years ago the Great Chinese Empire was humiliated by Britain in the opium war and the ceding of Hong Kong etc.
Who cares for the opinion and statements of a "state-owned newspaper" in China? This is only for brainwashing their own people so that they do not ask any questions about their government and how things are in their own country.
China on the other hand is neither good for tourist nor for students.
China with its pollution is bad for tourists. Who want to visit China with its polluted cities , corrupted people, backward education system.
Is China a super power. ? The answer is a big NO ! China is a paper tiger. With it's corrupted government officers loaded with united states dollars China will never have the guts to fight anyone as long as the USA disallowed it. China will always kowtow to the USA. Why ? Because the people in power in China and their family have too much money and comfort to dare to fight the USA
Just let the PRC revel in its illusion of itself being a so-called superpower. Someone I just wish that its farcical economy would just collapse sooner, and then they could see how much a superpower they really are.
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Dai Muff
Nationalism is bunk. The hobby and pride of little people. Whatever the nation.
The UK has been totally eclipsed by the United States, by a very long shot. That English remains the lingua franca of today's globe is owing primarily to the US, not the British Empire. If Nazi Germany was not taking on everyone at the same time 70 years ago, the world would look quite different today. History is indeed contingent.
History is only contingent when one doesn't understand the reason behind Lady Macbeth's compulsive handwashing habit.




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