PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 5:03pm
As British Prime Minister David Cameron launched a charm offensive at Shanghai Jiao Tong University yesterday, a state-owned newspaper derided the United Kingdom as merely a destination for Chinese students and tourists.
During the 40-minute meeting with students from the alma mater of former president Jiang Zemin , a relaxed Cameron took questions from the floor. The approach paid off.
“He exhibited humour, confidence and clarity of thought,” said Zhang Yang, a student at Jiao Tong. “We enjoyed the open atmosphere and his style of talk.”
When Cameron revealed that his old tutor at Oxford University, Vernon Bogdanor, criticised his work via e-mails even 25 years after he had left the university, the 300-odd students burst into laughter.
Vote now on our poll: Britain is no longer a ‘big’ power and is only good for tourists and students. Do you agree with China state media’s assessment?
Cameron is leading a 100-strong business delegation to China to encourage investment and he has posted pictures of his meeting with top businessmen, including Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, on his Facebook page.
A Global Times commentary described the UK as just “an old European country” that is only a destination for Chinese people to study and travel. It said the UK was “not a big power in the eyes of the Chinese”.