Thursday, November 10, 2005

President Hu meets Queen Liz

It's certainly pleasant to be back in the free world here in Hong Kong. But lucky me: the President of China may still be visiting London when I return:

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.)

Perhaps President Hu will be able to swap ideas on anti-"terror" legislation with Mr Blair?

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