Chinese media blank out ‘despicable’ shoe thrower

February 3rd, 2009 - 5:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaLondon, Feb 3 (IANS) Just as it did with Barack Obama’s sharp references to Communism, the Chinese media has blanked out any mention of a shoe being thrown at their premier in Britain, according to reports here Tuesday.A 27-year-old protester has been arrested by British police after throwing a shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during an address in Cambridge Monday - a protest that the visiting leader described as “despicable.”

Although Wen narrowly avoided being hit by the flying shoe, the protester - a member of the audience - managed to shout out: “How can the university prostitute itself with this dictator?”

An unruffled Wen responded: “This despicable behaviour cannot stand in the way of friendship between China and the UK.”

Although the report has been played up in every British newspaper, The Times said the media in China has avoided any mention of the incident.

However, it said, there were hints of the protest on websites and blogs, where there was a statement from the Foreign Ministry voicing dissatisfaction about a “disruption” of Wen’s speech.

Although the state-run television broadcast an uninterrupted speech, bloggers had provided links to English-language websites which carried the news of the shoe-throwing incident.

One even gave a link to the Sky News clip of the incident.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said: “The Chinese side has expressed its strong dissatisfaction about the incident. The British side has expressed deep regret to the Chinese side and said Britain would punish this person in accordance with laws.”

She added: “Facts show the troublemaker who conducted this mean act is not accepted by the public, and he will not stop the trend of a developing friendly relationship between China and Britain.”

US President Barack Obama in his inauguration speech in January praised the “sturdy alliances and enduring convictions” of those who “faced down communism and fascism” - comments that were similarly censored by the Chinese media.

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