Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Power in a state visit

The Chinese president goes on a state visit to the UK, and quite literally brings the Chinese state with him.

...the Chinese embassy filled the Mall with thousands of supporters kitted out with T-shirts and flags, drowning out human rights protesters in a sea of red. 
Awkward. Really, really awkward.
In his 11-minute speech, Xi acknowledged that he was addressing the “mother of parliaments”, dating back to the 13th century, but added: “In China, the concept of putting people first and following the rule of law emerged in ancient times.” He noted that one Chinese legal charter went back 2,000 years. 
I imagine Cameron and the rest of his gang of public school boys running the government now are wincing and fuming at the humiliation. Perhaps not as much as the Chinese were humiliated by British (and other) imperial interferences in earlier times, likewise driven by Cameron and Osborne's ancestral class interests.

Xi knows this, and I imagine the show of Chinese power is a symbolic demonstration of the reversal of circumstances. The Chinese state can colonise the UK economy and put thousands of its citizens on UK streets, while the most the UK can do is provide the Chinese leader with a fancy dinner and a guided tour.