How do the Chinese view UK politicians?

Members of the public wait on the Mall in central London before the official welcome ceremony at Buckingham Palace for President Xi of Chain in central London, Image copyright EPA
Image caption Thousands gathered to watch the ceremonial welcome at Horse Guards Parade

Many Chinese people are hailing President Xi Jinping's visit to the UK as a sign of China's global standing but what do they really think about British Prime Minister David Cameron and his cabinet?

It seems Chinese netizens are more enthralled by the popular British TV export Sherlock than Mr Cameron, regard London Mayor Boris Johnson as an "insane" sportsman, Chancellor George Osborne as Mr Bean's doppelganger and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as "somebody's grandpa".

David Cameron

David Cameron is one of the world's few leaders to have an account on the popular Chinese networking site Sina Weibo. But despite amassing more than 910,000 followers since joining in 2013, he is not well-known in China, with many believing Tony Blair is still prime minister.

Even those aware of who the current British prime minister is know little about him, regarding him as little more than a potential conduit for gaining access to the producers of Sherlock.

Following a recent post, most users asked him if he could "be troubled to provide timely update reminders about Sherlock".

"When will the new series be?" asked user Tianyu Xiang C.

"Dear Prime Minister, the best way to promote relations between China and the UK is: Sherlock season four. By the way, I'm gay and I love you," says another.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has more than 120,000 followers on Sina Weibo and, even though he hasn't posted anything for two years, still manages to be an occasional talking point.

Popular Chinese Global People magazine recently posted images of Mr Johnson with many Chinese liking his "visit to Japan" and commenting on his "playing football with super strength".

During his last visit to China in October 2013, the Guardian newspaper said he "shamelessly upstaged" Chancellor George Osborne when he was pictured playing the drums in a Chinese shopping centre.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Boris Johnson attracted legions of young fans on a visit to China in 2013

However, it seems Mr Johnson's involvement in sport and outdoor activities has won him the most favour with Chinese netizens.

User Zhou Meng praised him for being "insane" and a "maverick mayor" in June, for promoting Formula 1 at Battersea Park, and riding a bicycle to work, both of which are popular pastimes in China.

George Osborne

Despite being one of the UK's most vocal advocates for closer trade ties with China, George Osborne registers little with most Chinese people.

A search on Sina Weibo for Osborne results in endless commentary on Mark Osborne, director of English language film The Little Prince, which has been a huge talking point in China in recent months.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Despite being a supporter of closer trade ties, George Osborne is little known in China

Recent comments about the chancellor have been largely derogatory. User jilijames calls him "big and slippery".

Others say they like seeing "finance minister Osborne in the news", because he "exclaims like Mr Bean".

"I sometimes forget and call him Mr Osbean," says user zj_232232.

Philip Hammond

Chinese state television showed Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as one of the first people to greet President Jinping when he arrived in the UK.

But like George Osborne, a search on Sina Weibo generates results about a better known TV personality in China with the same surname, former Top Gear host Richard Hammond.

However, Philip Hammond did register with Chinese social media users for the wrong reasons when he sent a message of condolence following the factory blast in north China's Tianjin in August.

Although netizens thanked him, they were largely underwhelmed by his appearance. "The minister has a boring, mediocre face," said Zhang Chi 2015, while user Mi Huyang described him as "an old aristocrat, who looks like somebody's grandpa."

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