• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 8:53am

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

I see the charm offensive is one-way only, as usual.
"a state-owned newspaper derided the United Kingdom as merely a destination for Chinese students and tourists." The MFSOB confucius narrow minded state media is spreading rumors again!!!!
Remitting Prosperity
And they wonder why people don't like them.....
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.
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.
Dai Muff
Neither do Chinese. They are just scared of starving. That's not the same as "wanting to work cheap".

Usual SCMP rubbish. Chinese ppl including me are generally Anglophiles; we admire the high-achieving British ppls and want to eventually speak their language and fully appreciate their literature. The effect of Mr. C's visit will play itself out over time.
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.
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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