China blames media ‘barbarians’ for Queen Elizabeth row
Beijing says relations with UK not damaged by queen’s reference to ‘rude’ officials
Commander Lucy D’Orsi meeting Queen Elizabeth II during a Buckingham Palace garden party, when the police officer described difficulties organising the state visit of Chinese premier Xi Jinping in October. Photograph: : UK TV pool /PA Wire
China said its ties with Britain would not damaged by Queen Elizabeth’s description of Chinese officials as “very rude”, while a popular newspaper said the uproar about the comments was the fault of “barbarians” in the Western media.
Footage was broadcast on Wednesday of a garden party at Buckingham Palace in which the queen sympathised with a senior police officer who had the “bad luck” to be in charge of security during President Xi Jinping’s state visit in October.
“They were very rude to the ambassador,” the queen said, referring to Chinese officials.
The Global Times, a stridently nationalist Chinese tabloid, said in an editorial the Western media had the manners of “barbarians”.
“The West in modern times has risen to the front, creating a brilliant civilisation. But their media is full of ‘gossip fiends’ who brandish their claws and are very narcissistic, showing the bad manners of ‘barbarians’,” it said.
“However we also believe that exposure to the 5,000 years of continuous Eastern civilisation will help them make progress,” it said.
The newspaper is published by the same group that publishes the Communist Party’s official organ, the People’s Daily.
The comments were carried in the Chinese-language version, but not on the paper’s English-language site.
Asked several times to comment during a regular news conference, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang played down the queen’s comments and said both sides agreed Mr Xi’s trip had been a big success.
“President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK last October was a great success, thanks to the enormous efforts made by the teams of the two sides. Both China and the UK agree on that. The two sides have made arduous efforts to ensure its success. China and the UK also agree on that,” he said.
Britain has hailed a “golden era” of Sino-British relations, although there have been criticisms that the UK is choosing to ignore human rights issues in its dealings with China.
Web commentators were also upset by the queen’s remarks. Many of the comments harkened back to comments by her husband, Prince Philip, who warned some British students in China in the 1980s that they would get “slitty eyes” if they stayed there too long.
“Money and status cannot buy culture and politeness,” wrote Jerry-de-SH on Weibo, while Rubicon Worthy said: “She has impeccable manners and so I’m sure her assessment of their lacking social skills was correct.”
Another wrote: “The prime minister privately said two countries that recently visited England were the most corrupt countries, while the queen called Chinese officials rude. Where is their politeness?”