Friday, May 13, 2016

Queen's remarks about "very rude" Chinese officials rattles China

It has been described as extraordinary, unprecedented and a faux pas but the Queen's remarks caught on camera describing Chinese officials as "very rude" reveals that there are still tensions that exist between nations despite all the public smiles.

Her remarks, while creating a stir in the media, also reveal that the Queen too is human and indeed has an opinion on things.

The Queen is a stickler for protocol and had clearly been shocked by the rudeness of Chinese officials towards the UK's ambassador to China during a standoff apparent about security, and said so. That she brought this up immediately showed how much it still rankled even after seven months.

So was this a diplomatic gaffe, an attempt to send a message to the Chinese, or a statement of fact? Perhaps it was all three. But it is hard to argue, as some have tried to do, that it was of no importance. Indeed it was important enough for the Chinese to censor the relevant passage in the BBC news as screens of BBC World went black each time the story was mentioned [Telegraph].

On Chinese social media some users have been keen to comment, but many appear to have had their posts removed by online censors.

There are many unanswered questions [BBC]. But there are also some inconvenient truths [Guardian].

Some have suggested the rift was due to a hangover from the Opium Wars and British Imperialism more than a century ago. Indeed the Chinese still refer to the Century of Humiliation and dwell on the British destruction of Beijing's Summer Palace in the 19th Century [FT].

The Queen was not the only one rattled by the behaviour of Chinese officials during last year's state visit. Metropolitan Police Commander Lucy D'Orsi, who was the Gold Commander in charge of security spoke of difficulties describing it as a "testing time" [BBC / Telegraph / Daily Mail].

The remarks may refer to an incident when a "Chinese spy master" supposedly posed as President Xi's official translator in a bid to get into the Queen's royal carriage. This was first reported by the Daily Mail last year and led to diplomatic exchanges.

And there have been further reports this week which appear to reinforce the veracity of the story [Sun / Daily Mail / RT].

China for its part also appear to be rattled by the critical reports in the world media. And while foreign reports including those on the BBC Chinese service have been censored state media has dismissed the reports as tittle tattle and Fleet street gossip that has been hyped up out of all proportion [Huanqiu - Chinese / Guardian].

Nonetheless with reports emerging today suggesting that China has a secret plan concerning the building of reactors at Hinkley Point perhaps one has a right to be concerned over Chinese attitudes towards Britain [Daily Mail].

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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