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Cameron's coded message for China

Nick Robinson | 05:05 UK time, Wednesday, 10 November 2010

If I were not here, David Cameron will tell Chinese students later, I would be back in the House of Commons facing questions from an opposition party whose constitutional duty is to hold the government to account.

David Cameron talking to students by the Great Wall of China

 

Britain, he insists, is stronger for that and as a result of having powerful independent courts and media.

The prime minister clearly hopes that this will not be seen merely as a civics lesson from a distinguished visitor but as advice about China's future development.

Diplomatically, his speech echoes the assertion of the Chinese Communist Party that the country's history and its vast size make it different, but he still asserts that "the best guarantor of prosperity and stability is for economic and political progress to go in step together".

What he does not say is that if he were Chinese and campaigned for these views he could well end up in prison. Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiabo was sentenced to 11 years in jail for publishing a political manifesto which was seen as a threat to the stability of the state.

I understand that the prime minister did raise Mr Liu's case with Premier Wen at a banquet on Tuesday night - but how vigorously no Chinese student nor British voter is likely to ever know.

I will be watching carefully to see whether the Chinese media report the political content of the prime minister's speech or merely relay his praise for China's economic development.

Beijing has changed dramatically since I first travelled here with Tony Blair. The bikes have been replaced on the streets with traffic gridlock.

The streets, once grey, are full of the colour of Western commercialism mixed with the buzz of Chinese entrepreneurship. Back then the bars of Western hotels were full of secret police.

On Tuesday, I interviewed the dissident Ai Weiwei in full public view on a busy street. He condemned the prime minister for failing to condemn the Chinese government.

What has not changed though is that the Chinese will not tolerate calls for a change to their one-party state either from their own people or a distinguished visitor - except, that is, in code.

Update, 10:33: The test of David Cameron's message may turn out to be whether anyone beyond the hall at Peking University actually heard it. China TV may choose to report his praise for their country and even the call made by one questioner for lower tuition fees for students coming to the UK. But somehow I doubt whether they will report the PM's call for greater political openness. The Chinese propaganda ministry has even recently censored their own premier's speeches and interviews.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    The more I read and hear about China, the more I realise that the Chinese government is in the 'driving-seat' when it comes to international relations. Now doubt the Chinese premier will smile and accept the criticism - and then completely ignore it.

    As possibly the most successful global economy following the great recession, China is in the position to buy friends around the world. There are very few politicians who will excessively critise China's policy on human rights, if there is a chance that this would effect some business deal or massive investment.

    David Cameron is no different.

    He, like all the other western leaders, is prepared to swallow his criticisms in favour of a whole wad of cash from the Chinese.

  • Comment number 2.

    The problem with our "democratic" media, the newspapers, tv (and the political pundits) is that their very survival depends on sensationalising every little thing. They thrive on hostility and will promote it at every opportunity.

  • Comment number 3.

    Cameron isn't really any different from Blair when you get right down to it. We're always sucking up to those bigger and more powerful countries...nothing wrong with that as long as you don't lose your long held and perfectly reasonable principals. After all we are at war in Afghanistan over democracy are we not?
    Remember Blair hiding the Chinese democracy protesters from view during a state visit some years ago?
    Brown agreed to remove Tibet from the agenda, and you never hear anything about it any-more...does it still exist? You'd never know considering the amount of coverage it fails to get in the press or commons from that day to this. Still we don't want to upset them do we?
    Now Cameron who, even to a small select audience, is only able to criticise 'in code' for fear of offending our new best mates. Its sad but the British lion is now for sale to the highest bidder and has not only lost its teeth, but even its roar is a thing of the past.

  • Comment number 4.

    Well said Liz.
    Yesterday we were told by this pundit DC would not mention human rights - was he not briefed by Westminster?

    Lo and behold DC stated he HAD spoken of human rights, but the Chinese run a tight ship and will ignore any and all criticism.

    They will see it as the "West" interfering and we have done that at least twice too often.

    I am tired of the media criticism and manufactured outrage using the same tired old faces to lambast the coalition.
    And I watched the writer of this put words in the mouth of Mr Sunflower - objection your Honour , leading the witness.

  • Comment number 5.

    "If I were not here, David Cameron will tell Chinese students later, I would be back in the House of Commons facing questions from an opposition party whose constitutional duty is to hold the government to account."

    Hurr, hurr... It might be their constitutional duty, but its not something they're particularly pre-occupied with at the moment!

    "Britain, he insists, is stronger for that and as a result of having powerful independent courts and media."

    Mmmm. Whitewashed inquiries... secrecy... a pliant, supine mainstream media... if thats DC's definition of strong, I bet the chinese are quaking in their boots. Not. Lying, corruption, cronyism and self-serving all totally rampant.

    Yeah, I bet the Chinese people really look up to us and wish their political system could be just like ours.... arf...

  • Comment number 6.

    Interesting how George Osborne is in China too. Whenever and wherever the spotlight happens to be shining - political or otherwise - there we find him. Osborne.

  • Comment number 7.

    Time to move on I think - new government - you can't adapt - you really are starting to look rediculous-= tired out of touch, irrelevant, spiteful and wears funny glasses!

  • Comment number 8.

    3. At 07:27am on 10 Nov 2010, muggwhump wrote:
    Now Cameron who, even to a small select audience, is only able to criticise 'in code'
    =========================================================================
    It's called diplomacy, like it or not we are not a global power so we have to use what ever influence we have carefully. Cameron is walking a very narrow path, for if he went there Gun hoe he would be criticised for damaging our trade aspirations and if he ignored the issue altogether he would have been criticised for ducking the issue. I have listened to a number of political commentators last night and again this morning and it would appear that the diplomats got it spot on. It should be remembered that we appear to be the only nation who has addressed this issue with China, will it have any impact only time will tell but at least it may be a start.

  • Comment number 9.

    Nick Robinson.

    "If I were not here, David Cameron will tell Chinese students later, I would be back in the House of Commons.."

    I don't think Mr Cameron minds in front of which house he performs. as they say, the whole world's a stage. ;)

  • Comment number 10.

    I suggest DC minds his own business before he lectures others on theirs.
    The way many Western countries operate are hardly good examples.

  • Comment number 11.

    6. At 08:07am on 10 Nov 2010, sagamix wrote:
    Interesting how George Osborne is in China too. Whenever and wherever the spotlight happens to be shining - political or otherwise - there we find him. Osborne.
    =========================================================================
    Boy you must have been up all night thinking of such a cutting comment. It is strange that Osborne went their prior to the PM with the mane body of the delegation and has been speaking with the Chinese about opening up trade links and trading for the City. Strange that a Chancellor who is concerned about the UK economy, I suppose it is a hard act to follow, that of "Supper Gordon" saviour of the universe, well in his own mind anyway.

  • Comment number 12.

    Why we don't just let the people of China, or the people of every other country in the world to decide who they want for their government? Why we should tell what is the right and wrong to the others? If they don't like the way that they live they should change it alone. Without any help or and guidance from 3rd parties. And to tell the truth if sth change and is not welcomed, because it will have negative effect to the trade and the financial agreements, then easily the West can change again his mind and to forget Human rights and democracy.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm not trying to be cutting, Chris (11), all I'm doing is pointing out a developing danger - the ever growing influence of the Chancellor. We should have learnt by now (from Blair Brown) how that can poison the workings of government. This could be worse, however, since I sense a bit of a "Rasputin" thing going on with Osborne. Different haircut, and no robes (at least that we can see), but essentially the same. I could be wrong - I also sensed, for example, that this government wouldn't hike tuition fees - but I fear that I'm right. Time will tell.

  • Comment number 14.

    'Britain, he insists, is stronger for... having powerful independent courts and media.'
    I suppose he means the European Court of Justice... and News International.

  • Comment number 15.

    "I suppose it is a hard act to follow, that of "Supper Gordon" saviour of the universe, well in his own mind anyway."

    Supper Gordon?


    He's certainly had his chips!

  • Comment number 16.

    # 15 Groan.

    And while we're taking the p out of Chris, what's 'Gun hoe'? (#8) :}

  • Comment number 17.

    So the Chinese want to break away from a one party state where all of their politicians have the same objective, giving the citizen's no democratic choice. Maybe Cameron can show them how it is done here. Several parties, all recruited from the same political class (or family dynasty) all sharing the same objectives, all towing the EU line. Create a new party. Yes. Why not, and watch the mainstream media destroy it. Freedom of speech, dissent? Well, we have that here don't we. No control of the media, and other than a carefully worded response to an HYS topic,we have no basic freedom of speech. Fortunately the British people do not protest too loudly otherwise our friends in the ruling classes just might re-enact events like the Peterloo massacre which helped to teach British people to know their place. So yes Cameron, tell the Chinese to mend their ways. Good on you Nick Robinson look out for the dissidents.

  • Comment number 18.

    If Britain aims to focus on business and build a good trade relations with China, then mentioning human rights issue is not going to help.

    China may have expected the subject from the US, but Britain is not the US, Britain doesn't need to play the human rights cards to show itself as a 'morally developed' country or the model for democracy. On the contrary, if Cameron can demonstrate respect to China's own political system and concentrate on talks on business, it can do no harm to the UK as a whole.

    Your enemy's enemy is a friend, but it doesn't mean that your friend's enemy is your enemy too. Britain better off building a good trade relationships with China as the US is only going to look after themselves. Hot money from the US is gonna bite and a trade war between these two economic powers will happen. Let's not going to be dragged into politicial issues such as human rights, since it is the US government's favourite negotiation weapon. If there is something the Chinese wants from Britain then it's a different situation. But then what do they want from the UK apart from Scotch?

    Let's face it the US mention human rights not because they really want to see China to move on to 'democracy' and then take over their no.1 postion, they use it as a tool to provoke China and other activists in the world. This is my personal view.

    It's not that Britain should shy away from mentioning what it believes in, especially when the whole world is watching and the artist row doesn't give Britain any easy way to leave out the human rights subject either.

    There may be another way though, since human rights is nothing new and if human rights is something that anyone are born with, not something that can be taken away, then it may be better to steer the conversation around. Maybe we can take a different perspective and let's say everyone in China can enjoy human rights to a certain extend, it's just a matter of how much more of these rights can be exercised in China in the near furture. I am sure a lot of rights activists may not agree with this, but I think if the UK can find a new way to re-introduce the subject, rather than mixing it up with the trade relationships between two countries, or hijack the subject with any other political agenda, it is going to go down much better. After all, Britain want some hard cash from China, it needs to give something back, in this case, it maybe some respect from an old kingdom.

  • Comment number 19.

    you cant just tell people to become a democracy and think it will happen like that. look at iraq. the issue is far more deep rooted than that.

    to become a democracy it must be wanted by the people in the first place. once the middle class dominate the landscape then eventually that maybe what they want.

    but right now people in china are quite happy. i dont think they even want democracy.

    youll often find that the people who want it most are those that are wealthy.

    they already have everything they need, money, security, a good job, wanting more freedom is a natural progression.

    but when youre trying to put food on the table, and in a developing economy your priorities are different.

    people in china are not thick. they know their freedoms are restricted. but if for the time being it means a better life, they are more than happy to put up with it.

    the government will eventually evolve to a democracy when the middle class dominate the landscape. evolution not revolution. revolution often leads to anarchy.

  • Comment number 20.

    Cameron, would be completely wasting not only his time, but any chances of good relations with China if he persisted to push Human Rights. China has absolutely no intention of taking on the values of America, Britain or anywhere else for that matter. They have seen, and do not like, the type of democracy on offer by these supposed progressive Countries and the type of society it produces. They deal with a criminal as a criminal, with harsh punishment, thus pointing out to their people that behaviour of this nature is not aceptable. The same as people who try disrupt their way of life by protest. This may not be acceptable to people in Britain, but it is not the UKs right or duty to change this. We have tried this sort of bully tactic all over the World, forcing a form of democracy on people who do not want it. In the end Britain has always been the loser. It is time to have a more Global outlook, accepting difference in other peoples, that we cannot and should not try to change. This is how a truely tolerant Country should behave in World affairs.

    China is a very large Country, with a Government trying to hold a vast population together, whilst improving their status in the World. This is no small task and yet they have been very successful so far.

    In time, China will come up with a form of democracy of its own. This may prove yet again, much more successful than that offered at the present by tradionally, believed free Countries at the moment.

  • Comment number 21.

    You've been telling us all week that David Cameron is "under pressure", from anonymous blackmailers who you have failed to name, to subvert his trade mission and spend his time instead lecturing the Chinese on how to run their country. I hope the Chinese won't report the parts of Cameron's speech that he was forced to say as a result of blackmail, particularly as their inclusion is likely to harm British interests.

  • Comment number 22.

    May be the Chinese would see PMQ's as some perverse form of X factor and not particularly relevant to the government of a large country.

  • Comment number 23.

    What a sorry spectacle.

    A guy who got into power via a grubby deal with a hand-full of politicians, lectures other people on democracy.

    But he's frightened to say anything too openly just in case it upsets the big league country and his business mates tell him off for losing them some profits.

    The prime minister of 'Great' Britain sucking up to the Chinese on one hand and the money men on the other.

    Yuk.

    It's a great time to laugh at the tories.

  • Comment number 24.

    sagamix #13.

    Rasputin would spin in his grave if he knew he's being likened to that 'man'.

  • Comment number 25.

    The Chinese are gracious and polite in their dealings with others. They will be gracious and polite to Britain's representative and they will be equally gracious and polite to the representatives of other countries. But, whether they will compromise with what is being argued is a different matter. We are not the only ones going to China to talk and we must not be ARROGANT. Why are we going to China? We are going to China because while we were sleeping, China woke up and smelled the coffee and saw where the future lay.

    'Where there is muck there is brass' and the mucky business of digging the ground for raw materials = money.

    It would be a nice gesture, an act of extreme politeness, something that the Chinese are really good at, if they released Liu Xiabo. After all Liu Xiabo is more of a nuisance in jail than let free. No country (in their right mind) wants to create a political martyr if instead they could use that person as a tool of diplomacy.

  • Comment number 26.

    15. At 09:04am on 10 Nov 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    "I suppose it is a hard act to follow, that of "Supper Gordon" saviour of the universe, well in his own mind anyway."

    Supper Gordon?


    He's certainly had his chips!

    Complain about this comment

    16. At 09:24am on 10 Nov 2010, TheBlameGame wrote:
    # 15 Groan.

    And while we're taking the p out of Chris, what's 'Gun hoe'? (#8) :}
    =========================================================================
    Should read what I put into the blackberry especially with predictive Tex's.......

  • Comment number 27.

    Blame 16

    Just give it a rest will you, some of your posts are not so hot. At least he contributes a point of view, which cannot be said for some of your posts.

    I understood perfectly well what Chirs was saying, you are so cruel sometimes.

  • Comment number 28.

    Nick

    You are in danger of becoming obsessed.

  • Comment number 29.

    look at things this way.

    we spend 70% of our day, every day at work.

    are businesses democratic? no. does that mean they do not work well? no.

    are people in business opressed because the work structure has a heirachy rather than voted by the workers?

    in the family environment when you get home each day, is it democratic? does everyone in your household get 1 vote whe deciding on what to do? no?

    democracy at time is almost an illusion of freedom by the state.

    what are the chance in america in a nation of 300million that a father and son combination could be president, and had clinton almost beat obama, a husband and wife as president.

    2 familys running the worlds free democracy for 2 decades.

    thats not freedom, that control by media.

    freedom of expression is not democracy. thats a totally different issue.

    take hongkong as an example under british rule. over 100 years not once did citizens have the right to vote.

    but they were allowed to express themselves freely. look how that turned out.

  • Comment number 30.

    #21 Maggiel
    Admit it! You're Andy Coulson!

  • Comment number 31.

    The Government can not afford to upset the Chinese because they need all the help they can get to create the 2.5. million jobs required as part of their economic strategy.
    I'm not therefore really surprised that DC spoke in code. At the end of the day we are not really in a position to moan too much as we have people under house arrest in this country who are not able to go through the judicial process.
    The key way to improve human rights is through engagement and this is what the Government seems to be doing. The FO seems to be turning into the sales team of UK plc. I'm not really expecting the UK to rock the boat anywhere over the next few years -George's economic strategy will dictate everything this Government does.

  • Comment number 32.

    sagamix...

    'the ever growing role of the chancellor'...

    Why are the labour party so terrified by Osborne?

    Are you comparing the 'ever growing power of the chancellor' with the self effacing, cautious, non-profligate, back seat driving Gordon Brown? The same Gordon Brown who would knife someone as soon as look at them? Surely not.

    But therein lies the rub..the chancellor is the top job everyone wants. (even postie). He's a tory.

    In fact; it's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 33.

    23#

    More searing political insight from the resident one trick pony.

    I can now skip through the rest of the day and sleep safely in my bed tonight, full of joy, safe in the knowledge that the country's finest, most deftly tuned political mind has spoken.

  • Comment number 34.

    Britain can remind China about democracy and human rights. China can remind Britain about the opium wars.

  • Comment number 35.

    27. Susan-Croft wrote:
    'Blame 16
    Just give it a rest will you, some of your posts are not so hot. At least he contributes a point of view, which cannot be said for some of your posts.
    I understood perfectly well what Chirs was saying, you are so cruel sometimes.'

    Thanks for the interest S_C, but the comment to Chris was nothing spiteful, we all make typos, and was, judging from his reply, taken in that spirit. But more than happy to take your criticism. That's what freedom of speech is all about.

  • Comment number 36.

    also it worth reminding people that zimbabwe too is a democracy.

    people are allowed to vote. people are allowed to express themelves. its just that people that are more powerful than you will kill you. but surely thats just pure free will isnt it? freedom in its rawest form.

    without structure, democracy doesnt work.

    in china at least the government is working towards the common good rather than are just in it for themselves like in africa.

    democracy is a step in progression and china is just not at that step yet.




  • Comment number 37.

    The comments here are proof that some people will complain about anything. Initially, we were told that the PM would likely make no comments regarding China's human rights record. At that point, you were all clamouring that he was a trade-obsessed sycophant.

    Now we're told the PM has made a set of very diplomatic observations on the subject. And you're all calling him a hypocrite.

    He can only be one or the other. He could either say something, or say nothing - damned if he does, damned if he doesn't, if the BBC's regular posters are in any way representative of the wider public. More importantly damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't, by the same individuals.

    He chose to say something, politely - not 'in Code'. Politeness is good. If people are going to take an opinion onboard, they are more likely to do so if it is delivered in a polite fashion. If they aren't going to take an opinion onboard, then impoliteness isn't going to induce them to do so*.

    And people forget the important numbers in Mr Robinson's commentary: 60,000,000 and 1,300,000,000. It makes sense for the PM of a small nation to be diplomatic when dealing with a country that outnumbers his people by over twenty to one.

    *See the regular HYS trolling for supporting evidence of this statement.

  • Comment number 38.

    #27 Sino Susan

    Just to add... I've never been to China, worked very briefly in Hong Kong several years ago, but don't know much about modern China. So happy to look and learn from yourself and others who, I presume, have first hand knowledge and a much greater understanding than me.

  • Comment number 39.

    jr4412 @ 24 wrote:
    Rasputin would spin in his grave


    >>

    That guy from Boney M wasn't the real Rasputin, you know.

  • Comment number 40.

    remember that freedom to live where you want, freedom to eat what you want, freedom to travel, these are freedoms too, that come with economic growth, not democracy.

    and at present they are valued far more than freedom of the media.

    freedom comes in many forms. more wealth gives you more choice in society. and choice is freedom itself.

  • Comment number 41.

    BBC online headline: "Embrace democracy, Cameron urges China".

    Radio 5Live bulletin: "David Cameron criticises Chinese human rights".

    Neither of those statements are true. You are in no position to be "watching carefully to see whether the Chinese media report the political content..." when the BBC is guilty of so blatantly manipulating the facts to suit its own agenda.

  • Comment number 42.

    Which powerful independent courts and media is Cameron talking about? In Britain 5 of our top national newspapers as well as one terestrial channel and most satellite broadcasts are controlled by one man who is an unashamed Conservative supporter and government sycophant.

  • Comment number 43.

    Will #37.

    good post, and fair comment.

    "And you're all calling him a hypocrite."

    well, that is only to be expected given that he says stuff like:

    "All the time the government is subject to the rule of law" even though he has not seen fit to condemn "..Britain's complicity in the abuse and torture of terror suspects..".



    pdavies65 #39.

    :-)

  • Comment number 44.

    Sagamix...

    so is this official? You are admiting the Blair/Brown 'government' was poisoned?

    What an admission.

    Hats off to the tories!

  • Comment number 45.

    The comments here are proof that some people will complain about anything. Initially, we were told that the PM would likely make no comments regarding China's human rights record. At that point, you were all clamouring that he was a trade-obsessed sycophant.

    Now we're told the PM has made a set of very diplomatic observations on the subject. And you're all calling him a hypocrite.
    --------------
    I have to agree with the tone of this. Cameron is walking a tricky line, as all are with China. They are huge and powerful and will only get more so, their not being so for much of the 20th century was an aberration really, and we need them more than they need us.

    We gain nothing by not being diplomatic, sad to say. What good would it do to condemn them in their own country? None, to their situation or ours. He did raise the issues, however, and he did so while trying to avoid coming off as an entitled, hypocritical foreigner lecturing the Chinese while we still have problems of our own. I think he managed that (or rather, those who planned how the trip would go and wrote the speeches did, though I suppose he had input on the tone of the visit) and did all he could.

    Are we, is he, fine with the political and human rights issues in China and how it will not likely change one iota as a result of his comments? I seriously doubt it, but he addressed the concerns of the British people and didn't damage our relations with a pointless gesture at the same time, that is all he could do, enabling us to be there to assist should things change and a bigger chance to encourage such changes occur. As in,
    -------
    democracy is a step in progression and china is just not at that step yet.
    -----------
    And we cannot force them. Even most dictatorships in modern times concede the idea of democracy is good, hence why they usually make pretences of being democratic even if it is preposterous, and that feels like a partial step already from the days when democracy itself was regarded as dangerous and distasteful. It is little solace to those who suffer for now, but change comes pretty rapidly these days, so maybe there is hope. Our Prime Minister can encourage, gently, but the Chinese themselves are the only ones who can bring that change, and condemnations by our PM will not have a huge effect on that.
    -------
    He could either say something, or say nothing - damned if he does, damned if he doesn't, if the BBC's regular posters are in any way representative of the wider public
    -----------------
    Seconded.
    ----------
    But [David Cameron's] frightened to say anything too openly just in case it upsets the big league country and his business mates tell him off for losing them some profits.
    --------
    Well, if we weren't a reasonable league country ourselves I doubt he'd have been able to say anything, even in code, about the issues he did raise, so I try to look on the bright side.

  • Comment number 46.

    Isn't it interesting that a Chinese student asked Cameron about tuition fees? The majority of people in the UK voted for parties whose manifestos opposed an increase in fees, yet what did we get? No surprise then that the Chinese people wonder what the point of democracy is.

  • Comment number 47.

    Go on Dave you tell them how to run a country. Wait a moment. Are we not the knackered country and they have all the money. Stop. Get me my little red book and a simple suit. There you go, that's better.

  • Comment number 48.

    If you were not there where would you be?

  • Comment number 49.

    While the Chinese leaders have much to learn from the West, there are also lessons to be learned by the West from the Chinese experience.

    Western over reliance on the ability of the market place to automatically regulate the economy has not only lead to wide, potentially destabilising extremes of wealth, but to the collapse of the financial system in 2008 and an inability to compete with a more intelligently controlled economy such as China's.

    I hope the Chinese leaders take the opportunity to point out to Mr Cameron the stupidity of his government's hair shirt economic policy.

  • Comment number 50.

    BBC online headline: "Embrace democracy, Cameron urges China".

    Radio 5Live bulletin: "David Cameron criticises Chinese human rights".

    Neither of those statements are true. You are in no position to be "watching carefully to see whether the Chinese media report the political content..." when the BBC is guilty of so blatantly manipulating the facts to suit its own agenda.
    -------------
    Well, he didn't use those exact words and the tone is a tad contentious, but the PM did say we disagree with China on the issue of human rights (which is a criicism, albeit a mild one) and said he believed economic freedom that is occuring should go in hand with political freedom (which seems like it is an urge to embrace democracy without actually using those words).

    The headlines thus seem pretty innocuous to me. Perhaps in your haste to criticise the BBC blatantly manipulating the facts to suit its agenda you failed to pick the best example? Those headlines are rose tinted at best rather than a blatant misrepresentation of what was said.

    On the other hand, wait a while and maybe the headline will change. I recall with great amusement back when the cuts were formally announced how headlines I thought seemed suspect in tone (and thus the impression of what was actually going on), were altered later in the day to be more bland and neutral (removing reference to 'wielding defence cuts ax' and similar to be less opinionated)

  • Comment number 51.

    37. Will

    International human rights issues across countries and cultures each present their own problems. Unfortunately for those who are on the receiving end the differentials are of little consequence.

    The logical platform for a broad, consensual condemnation would be the UN, based on its Charter. Or on a smaller, more local format, the EU. But in reality each member nation's own self interests will take precedence.

    For individual nations engaging in one-to-one diplomatic and economic relations with an economic powerhouse like China, the only option is the one France, Germany and now Britain is taking.
    Several posters have pointed out that we are in no position to give lectures on human rights. While we are far from perfect I'd think most would agree our domestic record is somewhat better than that of China.

    But if you look for and accept an invitation to build political dialogue and strengthen economic ties, the last thing you do, to put it bluntly, is pee on your host's carpet. Especially when your host has a very different set of cultural protocols to your own. Either that, or you make a noise from the safety of your home. And prepare to accept the economic fallout. This is a very different world from where we were 20 or 30 years ago. Human rights issues are still as unpalatable, but Britain's ability to influence these issues has changed. The realistic options are quiet diplomacy and a more robust approach with pressure applied through non-diplomatic forums. Which is pretty much where we are now.

  • Comment number 52.

    2. How very true. We also have a feverish diet of doom-mongering, Gypsy Rose Lee forecasts, unsubstantiated allegations, opinion and rumour masquerading as fact, contrived arguments, bizarre Obama PR campaigns, the manipulative use of adjectives and reviews of books that contain nothing new but are given leading headline prominence.

    The people disseminating today's "story" that centres round a letter to The Times are banking on our not knowing that Lord West was a minister in Gordon Brown's government.

  • Comment number 53.

    Democracy or hipocrisy?
    I never heard the US bleat on about freedoms and human rights to the Saudis before they signed up to a multi billion dollar arms package.
    Democracies can work but they also allow enigmatic individuals to gain power and cause chaos. Iran and Venuzuela are democracies and elected such a leader and also Hitler was democratically elected.
    I am sure the Chinese goverment does not want 1.3 billion individuals believing that they do what ever they want. Just imagine a bee hive with no control.

  • Comment number 54.

    After he nonchalantly stamped on the sign of a British anti-war demonstrator a few weeks ago; when it comes to the suppression of legitimate protest, Nick Robinson seems to have more in common with the Chinese than he might like to admit.

  • Comment number 55.

    Yet again we see western politicians visiting foreign countries pushing our views and values without trying to understand theirs.

    The reason China has no desire for a political system like we have has to be seen it a historical context. For nearly all its history China has been ruled by a strong central ruler, mainly an emperor. In the period between the demise of the last emperor and the communist party taking power in 1949 the country descended into chaos with large parts being ruled by warlords. This culminated in the invasion and occupation by Japan in 1937, a humiliating experience that still resonates to this day, even with young Chinese. The Communist Party provided the stability the people wanted and the protection they needed.

    I travel regularly to China and have been lucky to make many Chinese friends. I can assure people there is no desire among the Chinese people for our western style democracy. As long as the party continues to deliver the prosperity the people are after and keep them safe they are happy. That is what the Chinese Government is doing. Surely one definition of democracy is listening to the people and giving them what they want?

  • Comment number 56.

    The students will be rolling in laughter at 'Del Boy Dave's' omissions such as;
    His party if funded by 'socially useless' greedy, reckless bankers that played their part in bringing the world's financial system to near collapse.
    The majority of the British parliament is infested with unelected, unrepresentative and unaccountable ex- party hacks, establishment sycophants and jounalistic toadies lying around like butchers dogs waiting to pick up their hundreds of pounds per day for just signing in.
    The people being denied the right to choose their Head of State.
    The list is endless, but I rather fancy the'students' will be aware that he is not known as 'Cam the Sham' for nothing.

  • Comment number 57.

    36. av123

    'also it worth reminding people that zimbabwe too is a democracy.
    people are allowed to vote. people are allowed to express themelves. its just that people that are more powerful than you will kill you. but surely thats just pure free will isnt it? freedom in its rawest form.'

    Not sure I get that.
    People more powerful than you will kill you for expressing yourself.
    'That's just pure free will.'
    Are you saying that makes Zimbabwe a democracy or not?

  • Comment number 58.

    #33. At 10:01am on 10 Nov 2010, Fubar_Saunders

    Good old fubar, it's firms time so he's sprung to life.

    Aren't you saying much the same thing at #5 ?

    How about a ten thousand word fubar special explaining to us how cameron actually came out looking dignified after all this multidirectional grovelling?

  • Comment number 59.

    How DC can tell another country about democracy and keep a straight face shows how deluded the man really is.
    What democracy do we have in this country ?
    ok so we can change the suits every five years but the real power brockers stay in place ie:the banks, the city, big business, European court of bla bla etc.
    And as for a free media, is he really being serious?
    As a working class English man I am as repressed as any Chineese Citizen because if I should challenge the staus quo then the levers of power (the police ,the media and the army) will be pulled until I am crushed.
    I hate the torys and all they stand for.
    I don't want av I want pr then we would never have to suffer a tory government again.

  • Comment number 60.

    #52
    '... the manipulative use of adjectives...'

    (Stares blankly at monitor in utter incomprehension.)

  • Comment number 61.

    It would be interesting to see what GeoffWard makes of this thread.

  • Comment number 62.

    Try this.

    Guy A kills half of his ten brothers and becomes the family head.
    He kills anyone to remain as family head.
    His successor A1 learns that this is the only way to remain as family head.
    He will do the same to keep power.
    Yet the new head realises that his family is poor.
    He encourages everyone to make money.
    The family is now the second richest in the whole village.

    A guy from the B family comes to do business.
    He buys and sells many things on this visit.
    They are a much smaller family but used to go to other houses to rob things and live there but got kicked out one by one. They are still killing people in a couple of families.
    B says to A1,
    'My family vote for our head. We don't kill our brothers. Your family should do the same.'
    A1 looks at B and smiles.

    A couple of months later, B is voted down.
    B1 becomes the new head.
    B1 goes to the A family to do business.
    B1 buys and sells more and says the same thing.
    A1 looks at B2 and smiles.

    The same process repeats with families C, D, E, F etc.
    Because, if they don't do business with A, they will all die.

  • Comment number 63.

    TheBlameGame

    Which was rather my point. The PM didn't lecture, he made very carefully worded, diplomatic observations - as you said, "The realistic options are quiet diplomacy and a more robust approach with pressure applied through non-diplomatic forums. Which is pretty much where we are now."

    What surprises me is the vitriole of the baying hounds. I have no love for the democratic establishment of the United Kingdom - particularly due to its continued efforts to politically disenfranchise those with views that the political classes deem unpalatable - but I consider everything, as far as is possible, objectively.

    And, objectively, an individual cannot condemn a man for saying nothing, and condemn him for saying something - as many people here seem wont to do. At best, it is argumentation for argument's sake. At worst, it is dissociative personality disorder.

  • Comment number 64.

    Mr Cameron should ask the Chinese why they have an active army of 2 and a quarter million personnel. Is that for defence ?

  • Comment number 65.

    It seems to me the only thing our media/press & pudits want to do is embarrass the PM in front of his hosts.
    Every democratic country in the world only pays lip service to democracy when alls said & done, all are guilty of cherry picking democratic opinion when it suits & ignoring when it it does not. I could list dozens of examples but just one should make my point (Capital Punishment).

  • Comment number 66.

    "a more intelligently controlled economy such as China's."

    Key words being "intelligently controlled"..... Lord knows what kind of state it would have been in had Broon been a Chinese politician....

  • Comment number 67.

    63. Will

    Wasn't contradicting you just adding to... as it were.
    Don't have much time for any mainstream establishment party but at least can recognise that the last government together with this one have both had to take pragmatic approaches wrt to China. No other choice.
    Would like to our politicians clean up their own House but that's got nothing to do with China and trade.

  • Comment number 68.

    mikerophone #64.

    "Mr Cameron should ask the Chinese why they have an active army of 2 and a quarter million personnel. Is that for defence ?"

    otoh, you might ask yourself why the UK has more than twice their numbers (per capita), or the US of A over three times more.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_troops

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    Nick's Update, 10:33...

    I understand that lord snooty has confirmed that the increased fees for English students will support lower fees for the Chinese students studying in England.


    Fiasco of the day.....

    Tories now paying £1500 to foreign criminals who agree to a reduction in their prison sentence (!) and go back home. No explanation as to what stops them using the tax payers money to fund being smuggled back again.

    "Dear mrs rapevictim. You will be pleased to hear that the chap who attacked you has been let out of prison and we have given him £1500 of your tax money. Yours faithfully, tory run home office"


    It's a great day to laugh at the tories.

  • Comment number 71.

    Some interesting facts on china.

    The total population of China is 1,354,370,754. It is the most populated country in the world. Around a fifth of the world's population resides in China.

    In china 1 in 5 chinese marriges ends in divorce. In the uk it is 1 in 3

    In china (2008) the incarceration rate was 119 per 100k. In the US it is 754.

    Before 1949, 80% of the Chinese population was illiterate: UNICEF reports that from 2000-2007, Chinese youth ages 15-24 years old enjoyed a 99% literacy rate. China did not allow private schools to operate until the early 1980s. China brought the world paper, cast iron, the wheelbarrow,iron plough,spension bridges, the parachute, gun powder (matches and fireworks), raised relief maps the propeller, ice cream, and of course bone china. The Chinese were also the first to use natural gas as fuel. The Chinese astronomers were the first to make notes about the Supernova.
    Calligraphy is one of the major arts of China. Chinese literature exists since around 1000 BC.

    The Chinese language has over 20,000 characters. The average Chinese only learns about 5,000 of these in his lifetime.

    China's health care system features a three-tiered system of health providers. In rural areas, village clinics, township health centres (THCs) and county hospitals are the major health care providers. In urban areas, community health centres (CHCs), district hospitals and municipal and provincial hospitals are the major providers. Overall, health outcomes in China have improved tremendously over the past three decades, especially thanks to the reduction in some traditional infectious diseases. However, death rates from chronic diseases have been on the rise, not least owing to changes in life styles and deteriorating environmental conditions. Supply of health care is overwhelmingly provided publicly and hospitals have been absorbing a growing share of the resources. The number of doctors has increased fast but the level of qualification of incumbent doctors is often modest. Demand for care has risen rapidly, in line with incomes, and the relative price of care soared through the early 2000s. Hospital budgets and their doctors’ pay are partly based on the pharmaceuticals they prescribe and sell, whose prices are regulated and involve considerable cross-subsidisation. Faced with these problems, the government has launched a number of reforms. New insurance schemes have been rolled out both in rural and urban areas. As a result, coverage and use of medical facilities has increased a lot, except for migrants. In practice, however, catastrophic but also chronic illnesses continue to push people into poverty, especially in the poorer regions, given limited risk pooling at the national level. A new set of reforms was announced in 2009, aiming at universal, safe, affordable and effective basic health care by 2020. They involve investment in medical infrastructure, generalising coverage, more focus on prevention, a new essential drugs system and far-reaching reorganisation, including hospital reform.
    China has the most expensive healthcare relative to average income of any large economy.

    The average life expectancy in china is 72 years and 6 months. In the uk it is 78 years and 5 months.


    In China the law stipulates that each child must have nine years of formal education.Students are required to complete primary and junior middle school education. Thereafter, students who pass the appropriate entrance examinations go on to senior middle schools or middle-level vocational schools.
    They may then take the national entrance exam which gives access to higher education. However, getting into university is highly competitive. Higher education is offered in universities, colleges, institutes, and vocational colleges and includes Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees.
    Besides regular higher education, China also provides adult higher education, which grants a second opportunity to those who missed their chance at regular higher education in their youth.

    At the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1947, constitutional rule was established, with the Communist Party of China controlling Mainland China. Mao Zedong led the Communist Party of China.

    China has about fifty six recognised ethnic groups in itself, with the biggest ethnic group being the Han. Totally, there are around a hundred ethnic groups. China is a secular and atheist country. Although it does offer religion on a personal basis as well as supervised religious organizations, like Buddhism, Taoism and and the immortal Confucian mentality. Around three percent of the Chinese population is Christian, while about two percent follow the ways of Islam.

    Some historians argue that football was invented in china.

    China has 3240 Television Broadcast Stations and 259 FM channels.

    Chi Le Mei You - "Have you eaten?" is the most traditional Chinese greeting

    The Martial Art Kung Fu was invented by the Shaolin Monks who used it to protect themselves from robbers in lonely mountain roads

    The tax on an individual's income is progressive. As at 2010, an individual's income is taxed progressively at 5% - 45%.
    The 2010 corporate tax rate for domestic and foreign companies is 25%.
    Small companies pay 20% corporate tax in certain cases. Qualified new hi-tec companies pay 15% corporate tax.
    An individual's capital gains and investment income are taxable in China at the rate of 20%.
    Capital gains tax for a Chinese company is added to the regular tax.
    A 10% deduction at source is made from the capital gains of a foreign company in China.
    On taxing capital gains from the sale of real estate, when calculating the capital gain the purchase cost is deducted from the sale price at the 20% rate


    Chinese favourite sports.
    Dragon boat racing dates back about 2500 years ago and remains a traditional event held around China every year
    Badmington
    Table tennis.
    Basketball.....
    and cricket is growing fast in China!

    Statutory holiday in the uk is 28 days. In China it is 10. Although they get more public holidays.

    China is the world's largest gold producer, and is likely to overtake India as the world's biggest consumer in the next three to four years, on robust
    demand in jewellery and investment.

    In Chinese culture, one looks towards the ground, when one is greeting someone. The greetings are normally formal, and there is a tradition of greeting the oldest person first. In China, gifts are exchanged at the Chinese New Year, weddings, births, etc. When the gifts are given, they should be presented with two hands. There is a tradition not to open gifts, when they are received. At the same time, the gifts may not be readily accepted. It is common to see people refuse the gifts thrice before they are accepted.

    If a person is invited home for food, it is expected, that the guest remove his/her shoes before entering the house. Bringing a small gift for the hostess is a common tradition. If there are a number of guests invited, then the guest of honor will be seated in a seat facing the door. Unlike in other cultures, it is the host who starts eating first.

    China is the longest continuous civilization that has ever existed























  • Comment number 72.

    David Cameron was elected to promote British interests i.e. British business & British jobs. If this means keeping quiet on internal Chinese matters - which many here agree are none of our businees anyway - in favour of creating jobs in our own country, what's the problem?

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    Our unelected PM, chosen by the Tories as leader on merit (yeah, pull the other one) talks about democracy. Gorra laugh!

  • Comment number 75.

    71#

    More cut and paste.

    There you go jon. You were looking for a thousand word contribution to laugh at.

    Fill your boots.

  • Comment number 76.

    One day a salesman knocked on my neighbour’s door:
    “Excuse me, madam, would you like to buy our newest products? Oh, by the way, you look so ugly today!”

  • Comment number 77.

    1. At 06:01am on 10 Nov 2010, EuroSider wrote:

    The more I read and hear about China, the more I realise that the Chinese government is in the 'driving-seat' when it comes to international relations. Now doubt the Chinese premier will smile and accept the criticism - and then completely ignore it.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Isn't that what happened at our general election? Two thirds of the electorate voted against fast, deep cuts but it was complete ignored.

  • Comment number 78.

    blamegame - zimbabwe is a democracy.

    but it is a democracy with no structure.

    socialism is needed when you are a developing country because you need to do things for the common good to lift everyone out of poverty not just individuals.

    once they have moved 900million people out of rural areas and out of poverty, developed housing, infrastructure, roads, manufacturing, etc.. then individual rights becomes an issue.

    like ive said before, its when the middle class dominates the landscape and becomes the dominant power, will there a call for a more democratic system.

    until then, people are more interested in getting an education and a roof over their heads.

    you cant run before you learn to walk.









  • Comment number 79.

    Will at post 63

    'At worst, it is dissociative personality disorder.'
    'Bloggers? They're inadequate and pimpled, says Andrew Marr (I can't remember which paper I tore this article from)

    Are you reconstituting an idea used by Andrew Marr in you last sentence? ;-)

  • Comment number 80.

    Isn't that what happened at our general election? Two thirds of the electorate voted against fast, deep cuts but it was complete ignored.
    ----------------
    The point is mostly valid, although I feel it is important to point out it is not always that simple. I voted Lib Dem, but on the basis of other issues;I was actually in favour of faster cutting which, at the time, they were not. I do not doubt most of the 25% ish who voted LD do not agree with me on that, but if some do, and even some proportions of other party's votes, and the wishes of the electorate could have been closer to 50-50, though I concede this is unprovable, hence the point being valid.

  • Comment number 81.

    democracy as we see it today is not true democracy.

    true democracy is diluting power to the people, to determine their own lives, which is not far from what true communism is either.

    the kind of john-lewis style of self determination and ownership.



  • Comment number 82.

    The job that I used to do before I was made redundant is now being done in China (Ironically, I trained a guy from India to take it over, and then my ex-employer changed its plans). Who do I vote for in our successful democratic country to get it back?

  • Comment number 83.

    71. At 12:08pm on 10 Nov 2010, lefty10 wrote: - The post is way to long.

    Can we all agree to post short pithy comments only.

    The days of long winded self important comments are gone.

  • Comment number 84.

    A frank exchange of views between friends shouldn't necessarily be a problem. We are all entitled to our views. Where DC has to be careful is in the Chinese cultural attitude to this. In China criticism from outsiders is rejected with hostility, whether it be from one family to another, or from an outside nation about China. As a Brit I'm happy to listen to any criticisms of the UK. We are far from perfect and not beyond criticism. However, my chinese wife finds it very difficult to listen to any criticism of China, even if she agrees with it. What I find hypocritical about China though is President Hu Jintao's response to criticism of the weaker yuan, while in almost the same breath being critical of the US Federal Reserve's Quantitative Easing 2. If you want to criticise then you have to be willing to listen to criticism.

  • Comment number 85.

    Update, 10:33: The test of David Cameron's message may turn out to be whether anyone beyond the hall at Peking University actually heard it.

    ====================================

    The code in the speach was very clear - the topics were raised for home consumption because people in the UK expect them to be raised, they were not intended for consumption within China so no doubt they won't be.

    Surely no one is naive enough to believe that the broad topics/soundbite phrases, if not the complete text has not been agreed beforehand and that the hosts are quite comfortable with it and know how they are going to handle it.

    If anything in it is upsetting to them or seen to be off the agreed line then we can expect the next report from this trip to be the suspension of the Rolls Royce deal due to safety fears over their engines (that is code for we are unhappy with what you said).

    China is far more concerned not to have history repeated upon it nor repeat mistakes industrialised society in the west has made in getting to where we are today.

  • Comment number 86.

    71 lefty10

    Thank you for that fascinating insight into Chinese ways.

    A small press report caught my eye today where an unnamed member of Cameron's entourage has claimed they have refused to remove their poppies when asked to by the Chinese .

    The report is that the poppies remind them of the opium wars fought against us.

    This is a real dilema. First thought is supportive of the refusal but then the brain kicks in anf Cameron is there to foster relations with the Chinese not insult them however unintentionally.

    It seems our politicians have learned little in nearly 200 years odf dealings with China. It all went wrong in the 1830s when our emmissiary, Lord Napier, refused to follow the traditional Kow Tow bowing to the Emperor. He also made etiquette gaffe after gaffe upsetting everyone he was supposed to be fostering relations with. This was the start of the opium wars.

    In this latest poppy incident were the Chinese trying it on to see if Cameron would KowTow ? Are they annoyed or impressed that he did not ?
    Could he have asked what symbol they use to commemerate their fallen in battle and worn that ?

    Yes a dilema indeed. Bet we never find the answer. Bet he wouldnt keep his shoes on going into a mosque.

  • Comment number 87.

    I am quite sure David Cameron's comments in support of greater political openness were knowingly intended for UK consumption - Cameron will have known that the Chinese are unlikely to report it and so will the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

    Hardly a new-story!

  • Comment number 88.

    In all my years covering China I have never read so much ill inform nonsense.

  • Comment number 89.

    Independent media, eh? LOL

    Old Rupe must have choked on his toast from laughing when he read that in his morning paper - and I do mean "his" morning paper.

  • Comment number 90.

    I'd much rather live in a society with our freedoms than one that isn't there yet. For once I will give Cameron credit for comments he makes about us not being perfect by any means, but we are able to make our view heard whenever we want and we are given a choice as to who we want to run our country (even though lots of people dont think its much of a choice). Patronising posts that claim to know China inside out and whats best for Chinese people are arrogant in the extreme.

    Now, back to some minor Tory bashing - check out Pestons blog from yesterday where Osborne is quoted as saying the mega recession was caused by trade imbalances. Good to see a trip abroad has put things into perspective for him and he's moved on from silly position that it was all down to Brown and Labour. I look forward to him expousing this view in the weeks/months ahead and educating his cabinet colleagues.

  • Comment number 91.

    Update, 10:33: 'The test of David Cameron's message may turn out to be whether anyone beyond the hall at Peking University..... The Chinese propaganda ministry has even recently censored their own premier's speeches and interviews.'


    Nick, in case you'd forgotten, a recent UK government wanted secret inquests, censorship of complicity in torture, less transparency in parliament and 40 day detentions without trial. Not sure where we'll end up with all that, but hopefully you'll be keeping us informed.

  • Comment number 92.

    xTun @ 86

    Abiding by the etiquette of your hosts is just good manners, isn't it? Particularly when you're trying to improve business links.

    I wouldn't be very impressed if a visiting dignitary refused to remove a swastika on the grounds that it was a symbol of peace back home.


  • Comment number 93.

    >#64
    "Mr Cameron should ask the Chinese why they have an active army of 2 and a quarter million personnel. Is that for defence ?"
    >
    What would you do if you were surrounded by US forces based in South Korea, Japan and Philipines? I would not be suprised if US bases are planned for India and maybe even Taiwan.
    I too would be a tad paranoid if I had all those weapons pointed at me.

  • Comment number 94.

    suchan,

    you only have to look at the UK reaction to the bp fiasco when everyone was up in arms about perceived brit bashing in america.

    there wasnt any. but everyone over here started crying about it because they used the word british ever so often.



  • Comment number 95.

    61. At 11:35am on 10 Nov 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:
    It would be interesting to see what GeoffWard makes of this thread.

    Grannie,
    ....inscrutibility in all things oriental, sphynxes, & Texas Holdem.
    Geoff xx

  • Comment number 96.

    86. Xtun
    I would have just removed the poppy straight away. Simple.
    By the way have you heard about the breaking news re-the 50 thousand strong student march re-tuition fees..
    About 200 have broken into millbank tory HQ. Sounds like its kicking off big time.
    And evidently they are shouting a particular chant about nick clegg. Although i cant repeat the content on here!

  • Comment number 97.

    pdavies...

    So how exactly if 'abiding by the rules of your hosts is just good manners' do you explain the following?

    Gordon Brown turning up after everyone had departed to sign the Lisbon treaty?

    Gordon Brown referring to President Obama as President 'Omaha' at the D-day landings anniversary?

    Gordon Brown going walkabout at the Windsor Castle dinner hosted by the Queen in honour of President Sarkozy?

    Gordon Brown squatting in Downing Street after losing an election?

    Tony Blair presenting evidence of weapons of mass destruction to parliament for which he was well aware there was only supposition?

    Are these examples of the 'etiquette' and 'just good manners' you would prefer?

    And you have the nerve to present a poppy as comparable to the Swastika? Is it any wonder the labour party has completely lost all touch with reality and divided itself straight down the middle about 'The Woolas Affair'? They could no tell right from wrong than they could differentiate between a chewed finger nail and a clunking fist.

    What are you suggesting? We should relegate remembrance Sunday and the thousands of poppies sold to raise money for the wounded to 'Feel a bit upset without offending anyone Sunday'? 'Don't mention the poppies, Sunday' Next it'll be calling the Proms 'elitist' or axing the Royal Tournament....oh but you tried that, didn't you?

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 98.

    Thanks Lefty10 , really informative.
    I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the programmes on BBBC4 concerning the Chinese school and the Indian school.
    A very impressive interest in the education of the young.

  • Comment number 99.

    #97
    'Tony Blair presenting evidence of weapons of mass destruction to parliament for which he was well aware there was only supposition?'
    And which all the numpties in parliament voted for like the opportunist hypocrites they all are!

  • Comment number 100.

    96#

    Obviously time to get the tear gas and the tasers out then. If certain players in the crowd want to rumble, then let them have what they want.

    I'm presuming the NUS, which organised this protest is fully supportive of those who are resorting to violence and throwing molotovs?

    Interesting to think what kind of response such a protest would have got from the Chinese Government too, if it happened on their soil...

 

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