Caroline Wilson, the newly appointed British ambassador to China, will take office this month. Before leaving for Beijing, the senior diplomat posted a photo on her Twitter account. In the photo, she and the Chinese ambassador to the UK held a book that glorifies the head of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping. The tweet raised questions about whether she could promote and safeguard British values and interests.
Wilson said on her twitter account: “Valuable meeting with @AmbLiuXiaoMing before heading to Beijing. We can and must work for ambitious UK-China collaboration, on climate, health, trade, and also engaging on trickier topics too. I look forward to supporting a mature, positive UK-China relationship, in line with UK values.” The book The Governance of China, which Xi Jinping authored, presents the official party line for the Chinese government.
Wilson’s tweet and photo soon attracted hundreds of comments. Only a few comments praised her as “the best candidate for this absolutely critical position.” The vast majority of netizens believed that this tweet was extremely untimely.
“UK values in this particular book? Good luck …”
“Ah, the little book of Chairman Xi. Just the perfect analogy to the little red book of Chairman Mao.”
“Some individuals still don’t understand the CCP; good luck trusting the CCP.”
“British values and Xi Jing Ping Thought. Round peg in a square hole.”
“Hardly imagine this can happen to the new ambassador when the whole world is condemning #CCP for its move in suppressing human rights in #HongKong and #Xinjiang. #TakeDownTheCCP”
“Why not change with George Orwell’s “1984” with it? it’s a completely forbidden No entry sign in mainland china now.”
Nathan Law, one of the student leaders during the 79-day Umbrella Movement in 2014 in Hong Kong, now living in London following the National Security Law that Beijing enacted, commented, “This looks terrible. Accepting ‘Xi’s speech’ from this awful ambassador — I see it as an insult to the democratic values that we all share. Stop helping the CCP to spread its propaganda and infiltrate the democracies. This is an extremely bad move from the new British Ambassador.”
Roger Garside, a former British diplomat and author of Coming Alive: China After Mao“ said, “As a former British diplomat myself, who served twice in Beijing, I am appalled by this behavior of our Ambassador-designate to the PRC… It goes beyond anything I have witnessed from a British diplomat.”
Garside summed up the reaction to Wilson’s tweet as a “stream of well-deserved outrage.”
Source: Voice of America, September 18, 2020