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Xi Jinping`s awkward moments in the UK Parliament House

Posted October. 22, 2015 07:54,   


Chinese President Xi Jinping is warmly received by the U.K. government during his first visit to the U.K., but his speech on emphasizing constitution did not receive the same kind of response.

In his speech, Xi Jinping said that the U.K. has the “oldest parliament in the world" but China had started codifying laws 2,000 years ago. The Financial Times responded to this, "He drew comparisons between the British system that placed power in the hands of people and operated under the rule of law with China`s own model of "socialist law-based government with Chinese features."

Some parliament members questioned China`s right to stress constitutionalism and democracy by making an example of the Magna Carta 800th anniversary exhibition in China. The exhibition was going to take place at Renmin University in Beijing, but was canceled one day before the event. The exhibition then moved to the U.K .consulate in Guangzhou, which is a small city. Magna Carta is considered as the cornerstone of modern democratic constitution.

Xi Jinping was also criticized for only speaking in favor of China when he was talking about history. Quoting Shakespeare, he emphasized that China and the U.K. fought together in Normandy Invasion, but he never mentioned that where he was standing was where the Opium War started. None of the members of the U.K. parliament gave an applause to him during the 11-minute speech, and there was no standing ovation when the speech was over. The Financial Times described the moment by saying that Xi Jinping faced an awkward moment in the "mother of parliaments."

In fact, the awkwardness started even before the speech began. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, introducing Xi Jinping, said that here once stood Aung San Suu Kyi, the symbol of democratic movement, and so will the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi next month," praising Suu Kyi as "a symbol of human rights" and India as the biggest democratic state. "China should aspire to be seen as a `moral inspiration` to the world as it takes its place as an international superpower," he said.

During a state banquet held in Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, Queen Elizabeth II touched upon a sensitive issue by requesting that China should keep the promise made in 1997 when Hong Kong returned to China that the autonomy of Hong Kong will be preserved. The Times reported her remarked as balancing the atmosphere when everyone was saying good things about China.