Chinese Ambassador to UK: If the West could listen attentively to China

Updated: 2008-04-16 22:10

In the morning of April 6th, looking at the snow flakes falling outside the window, I could not but wonder:what the torch relay would be like?

About 8 hours later, when the torch finally struggled through the route, Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes ran up to light the Olympic cauldron at O2 Dome, 4,000 spectators cheered.

This day will be remembered as Beijing met London with splashes and sparkles. It was an encounter between China, the first developing country to host the Olympics, and Britain, the first western country to greet the torch.

On the bus to the airport, I was with some young girls from the Beijing team, including an Olympic Gold Medalist Miss Qiao. They were convinced that the people here were against them. One girl remarked she couldn't believe this land nourished Shakespeare and Dickens.

I can't blame them. I fully understood how they felt. They were running between vehicles for the whole day, nose red and hands cold, trying to service the torch bearers. They had only about three hours of sleep the previous night and some were having lunch sandwiches just now. Worse still, they had to endure repeated violent attacks on the torch throughout the relay. I was fortunate to sit at the rear bus and saw smiling faces of Londoners who came out in the tens of thousands, old people waving and young performers dancing, braving the cold weather.

In the darkness of London night, waving the chartered plane good-bye, I had a feeling the plane was heavier than when it landed. The torch will carry on and the journey will educate the over a billion Chinese people about the world and the world about China.

A young friend in China wrote me after watching the event on BBC: "I felt so many things all at once--sadness, anger and confusion". It must have dawned on many like him that simply a sincere heart was not enough to ensure China's smooth integration with the world. The wall that stands in China's way to the world is thick and heavy.

In China what's hot at this moment on the Internet, for which China has 200 million users, is not only the attempts to snatch the torch but also some moving images of Jin Jing, a slim young girl, a Paralympic athlete in a wheelchair helped by a blind athlete. She held a torch with both arms to her chest as violent "protesters" tried repeatedly to grab it from her during the Paris relay. There is especially infuriated criticism of some of the mis-reporting of China in recent weeks like crafting photos or even using photos from other countries to prove a "crackdown".

On the other side of the wall, the story is different. I am concerned that mutual perceptions between the people of China and the West are quickly drifting in opposite directions.

I cannot help asking, why when it comes to China, the generalized accusations can easily be accepted without people questioning what exactly and specifically they mean. Why any story or figures can stay on the news for days without factual support.

   1 2   

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours