Zhang Lijia
Zhang Lijia

Does Britain still matter to China, wonders author Zhang Lijia in a piece for the BBC. “Is London still that foggy,” many Chinese wonder. At least the mutual relations remain foggy between both countries, writes Zhang Lijia.

Zhang Lijia

During Cameron’s first visit to Beijing back in November 2010, he refused to take off the Remembrance Day Poppy when his hosts requested him to do so. Though I understand his refusal, I think the Prime Minister didn’t quite appreciate how poppy is regarded as a symbol of humiliation China suffered at the hands of the European powers, Britain in particular, during the Opium War. Naturally, Cameron didn’t endear himself to the hosts.

Then last May, the Prime Minister received the Dalai Lama, which halted Sino-Britain relationship. Now not wishing to lose the race in courting China to its European partners, Cameron came over to mend the fence this week.

On Monday, the day of his arrival, the official newspaper Global Times ran a front page op-ed, questioning his sincerity and pointing out that the British Royal Navy’s Chief of Staff has expressed his support for Japan’s stance toward China’s recently declared Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea.

“The Cameron administration should acknowledge that the UK is not a big power in the eyes of the Chinese. It is just an old European country apt for travel and study,” the oped continued.

True, a lot of Chinese like to joke that the United States has two running dogs. The one in the east is Japan and the other in the west is Britain.

More at Zhang Lijia’s weblog.


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