Halt! Hu goes there?

Hu does London, and I doubt it’ll sweeten him on democracy and freedom of speech and good stuff like that.

As he was swept through Canada Gate and into Buckingham Palace in a gilded carriage drawn by six white horses yesterday morning, the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, could have been forgiven for feeling a little confused. On one side of the Mall a crowd of a few hundred largely silent supporters waved the red flag of China and held out banners saying, “Welcome leader of the motherland”. Just metres away, on the other side of the Mall, a much more boisterous but similarly sized crowd chanted, “China, China, Out, Out” amid a blizzard of Tibetan flags in red, yellow and blue. (There was trouble during Jiang Zemin’s state visit in 1999 when police stopped protesters carrying the Tibetan flag, banned in China, but this time a lighter touch was applied.)

Article continues
Perhaps it was fitting that the president of China should be greeted by such a polarised response at the start of his first official visit to the UK, which lasts until tomorrow: the community of 400,000 or so people of Chinese and Tibetan origin living in Britain is nothing if not divided on the subject.

Over on the angry side of the road, Tseten Samdup, a Tibetan protester wearing a Free Tibet placard around his waist, said he had come to demand an end to the 55-year Chinese occupation of his country. “The Chinese government should start negotiations with Dalai Lama and free our political prisoners,” he said. Mr Tseten’s parents fled Tibet in 1959 as Chinese rule tightened. He grew up in a refugee camp in Nepal and then India. “I have never seen my country. But I have become aware of what’s been done to Tibet through my contact with Tibetans who have been imprisoned for over three decades.”

Read ze whole thing.

The Discussion: 17 Comments


“CHINA pulled off a brilliant piece of political theatre yesterday when it packed the Mall with thousands of pro-Beijing supporters in an attempt to silence hundreds of noisy demonstrators protesting against the arrival of President Hu.

Although a dozen students interviewed all insisted that they had come spontaneously to support their leader, Chinese officials, complete with red armbands and leather jackets, appeared to be directing the operation as though they were back in Tiananmen Square preparing a May Day rally. They organised transport, handed out British and Chinese national flags and large identical banners welcoming Mr Hu to London in English and Chinese.”

And they think that no one’s going to notice.


November 9, 2005 @ 7:48 am | Comment

It doesn’t matter if we notice, Raj. The only thing the Chinese people back home will ever see is the cheering crowd…proof that their leader is truly welcomed (and kowtowed to) everywhere he goes.

November 9, 2005 @ 9:58 am | Comment


It doesn’t matter, because CCTV would carefully edit the footage anyway. In my mind it just makes the CCP & PRC look stupid to the world, and that’s the important thing – Hu is doing this to boost China’s image abroad, not to increase domestic support.

November 9, 2005 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

I believe those “Free Tibet” and Falun Gong supporters are extremely annoying people.

November 9, 2005 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

I believe they are exercising their rights under British law ๐Ÿ™‚

November 9, 2005 @ 2:56 pm | Comment

Yes, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Fortunately I would equally have the right to express my support for Hu Jintao. It’s unfortunately that some here state that those people are only paid for it. That’s just pure slander. I could equally state that Falun Gong and “Free Tibet” supporters are paid by CIA fronts and China haters.

November 9, 2005 @ 3:03 pm | Comment

The difference is that in China you’d have right to do that, but these protestors couldn’t do what they’re doing.

And no one here has said anyone in London was paid to support the President. But as the article said, it was a CCP-organised event.

November 9, 2005 @ 3:49 pm | Comment

What does it say about a country when they have to orchestrate a crowd to welcome their own leader in a foreign country and drown out protestors? How would the Chinese feel if Tiananmen Square was lined with Americans shipped in to welcome George Bush on a State visit?
(Actually that’s not so improbable, given his love of staged press conferences with the military).

November 9, 2005 @ 4:12 pm | Comment

Actually, I believe Americans in China should line up to greet their president. ๐Ÿ™‚ I understand why the host of this blog and a majority of the readers dislike or even hate Bush. Personally, I think Bush is not a bad guy. I would never vote for him, but I certainly do not dislike him. From a Chinese perspective, Bush has been generally speaking good for the relationship between the US and the PRC.

It is too easy to say that it was a CCP organized event. I believe there are generally speaking lots of Britons and Chinese who genuinely advocate a good relationship between the UK and China and between the peoples of the countries, certainly a lot more than “Free Tibet” and Falun Gong supporters. The few hundred protesters are a small, but very present and visible, minority. Their only goal is to attract lots of media attention and they fully succeed in that. Not only because it is for the reporters very cheap and easy to report on them, it is exciting and it sells.

November 9, 2005 @ 5:05 pm | Comment

Yeah, it was spontaneous. Those banners just dropped down from the skies, and the cheering masses went of their own accord. Just like all those pro-Bush robots who materialize at his town halls with scripted questions that just happened to fall into their hands, like magic. Please.

The FLG and pro-Tibet supporters do the same thing. Of course they’re organized, of course it’s not spontaneous. Only a moron would think they just ended up there without being organized by the leaders traditionally behind them. For the anti-Hu demonstrators it’s the FLG/pro-Tibet leaders. For the pro-Hu demonstrators, it’s the CCP.

November 9, 2005 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

ZHJ: You say “I believe there are generally speaking lots of Britons and Chinese who genuinely advocate a good relationship between the UK and China and between the peoples of the countries”. And you’re right, of course, though I think you’re wrong that they outnumber the pro-Tibet people, and I also think the two groups are not mutually exclusive.

However, this pro-Beijing crowd was clearly orchestrated by Beijing. The simple fact is that in Britain we just do not do that kind of thing, which only makes it very obvious when Chinese agents come in and organise it.

November 9, 2005 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

I’ve never had a problem with the falun gong people in london. their protest outside the chinese embassy is extremely peaceful and law abiding. very friendly people. informative leaflets….funny how only in mainland china do falun gong supporters seem to go on murderous rampages…..

i am glad to see that there wasn’t the heavy handed policing of 6 years ago when jiang zemin came to town – that was a national disgrace.

yes, zhj i believe that there should be a good relationship between china and britain – as long as china respects our cultural values and human rights, which were until recently enjoyed by your compatriots in Hong Kong until they were tragically taken away ๐Ÿ˜‰

November 9, 2005 @ 11:11 pm | Comment


Absolutely, what happened last time was a disgrace. It’s good to see that the Home Office let the Police control the event as they normally would – i.e. let them protest.


Of course most/all Britons want better relations with China – they want better relations with every country. But that doesn’t mean they don’t believe that Beijing should improve civil rights and freedoms in the PRC or that Tibet et al should be allowed to run their own affairs.

November 10, 2005 @ 5:04 am | Comment

Si says: “as long as china respects our cultural values and human rights, which were until recently enjoyed by your compatriots in Hong Kong until they were tragically taken away”

This is a lie. You can argue that the status quo is preserved though. Hong Kong has fortunately returned to China, and is no longer a colony of the British. Only before the handover to China did the British introduce democratic reforms. Before that, the British ruled Hong Kong as a dicator. So don’t say that Hong Kong was better under the British, because that is just not true and makes me quite angry.

And Raj, I believe China should become a developed country. But I don’t agree with you that Tibet should run its own affairs in the same way you suggest. Tibet should run itself like all other provinces, but can’t rule itself on foreign policy, currrency, defense, and all national matters. Having heard the old monk Lama talk lately, I think Beijing should not comprise with him. These people will never give up a separate Tibet, so I think they should just stay where they are and become Indian citizen.

November 11, 2005 @ 6:32 am | Comment


When Chinese people criticise Japan, they often say “hey, China never hurt Japan so why Japan try and take over China?”

Well Tibet never did anything to China, so why did China take it over? Whether you say Tibet was made part of China 50, 100, 200+ years ago, it was once a separate country. So why was it wrong for Japan to invade China but China was right to invade Tibet?

If you support the imperialism that brought Tibet into China then you are supporting the imperialism that almost made China a Japanese colony.

November 11, 2005 @ 10:06 am | Comment

Tibet is now part of China and recognized as such and that is the end of the discussion.

November 11, 2005 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

Well, in China it is, and that’s the end of the discussion. Unfortunately for Chinese dignitaries on foreign visits, the issue isn’t so cut-and-dried everywhere else in the world. Security breach in New York.

November 11, 2005 @ 11:12 pm | Comment

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