By James Griffiths
Prince Harry’s upcoming visit to China has left some British commentators in particular feeling skeptical as to whether the young royal, who recently made global headlines after getting photographed naked in Las Vegas, is the right person to deal with the mostly octogenarian Chinese leadership, Richard Spencer writes in the Telegraph:
Can anyone explain to me how sending a relatively minor and youthful member of the royal family, mainly known abroad for high jinks and taking his clothes off, is going to repair relations with Comrades Hu Jintao, 69, Jiang Zemin, 86, and Xi Jinping, 59, the three most powerful representatives of China’s age- and status-conscious Communist Party?
Relations between China and the UK have been strained of late, after Chinese feelings were hurt when Prime Minister David Cameron met with the Dalai Lama in May; and British observers were slightly shocked when the wives of Chinese politicians started knocking off their citizens. Harry has previously made successful diplomatic visits to both Brazil and Jamaica, and it is hoped that a visit to the PRC will be equally well received. However, previous family form isn’t good:
The 1986 royal tour was overshadowed by comments made by Prince Philip, who was overheard describing Beijing as “ghastly” and who caused widespread offence during a meeting with a group of British exchange students living in the city of Xian, where he told them: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”
Gaffe-prone Prince Philip isn’t the only royal to incur Chinese disapproval, as Ryan Villarreal explains:
Prince Charles, who has never visited China, also caused some controversy after private remarks he made in a diary were leaked in 2005. Writing about the UK’s handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 — itself a symbol of deep-seated diplomatic tensions since the historic city had been a British colony for over a century and a half — Prince Charles referred to China’s leaders at the time as “appalling old waxworks.”
In all fairness, waxworks are far more lifelike than the CCP leadership.
The British commentariat shouldn’t be too worried, Harry is about to start a four-month deployment in Afghanistan, and rather than make a fool out of the UK, he might just die instead:
“We are using all our strength to get rid of him, either by killing or kidnapping,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told Reuters by phone from an undisclosed location.
“We have informed our commanders in Helmand to do whatever they can to eliminate him,” Mujahid added, declining to go into detail on what he called the “Harry operations”.