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China: Shoe Hurled at Premier Wen Sparks Fury

Shoes thrown at a leader, but not G.W Bush this time

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was greeted by a shoe thrown at him during his speech in Cambridge University, England. The lecture was about building harmonic international relations.

The protester hurled a shoe at Wen, yelling, “How can the university prostitute itself with this dictator? How can you listen to these lies?” He then blew the whistle, and was shortly removed by security. The London Times described him as a “young, Western-looking man with dark hair”, a possible pro-Tibet or human rights activist.

Wen came back to his lecture soon, commenting on what happened: “this despicable behavior cannot stand in the way of friendship between China and the U.K.”

Wen's speech in Cambridge is one part of his 5-day European visit. The trip is considered an effort to repair the relationship with Europe which was damaged by Tibet riots and protests during the Olympic torch relays. On the other hand, with a stable and strong, though slightly slowed economic growth, China is trying to exert its influence and signal friendship in a time of global financial crisis.

Wen's lecture is also a call against protectionism, which may greatly undermine China's export-oriented economy. Wen has criticized the U.S and some enterprises for the cause of the crisis, blaming them as irresponsible and immoral.

France is not on the Wen's visit schedule. Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, met with the Dalai Lama last year, which was considered a particularly unfriendly action by Chinese.

Protests accompanied Wen during his visit, most of them concerning issues about Tibet.

Pissed off by the shoe

Unlike the way many Americans reacted to their former president Mr. Bush's embarrassment in Iraq, it seems that this time the shoe thrown to Wen has really pissed off a great many people.

In Xiaonei, the Chinese copy of facebook, a post named “Britain, do you still wanna play?” showed up shortly after the incident. It aggregates a few furious comments.

吕洋 Ivan, a Xiaonei user, commented:

操他妈的藏独个王八羔子,早知道今天没课跟丫们干仗去,看谁鞋多。别忘了砸布什的鞋都是made in china的.

F–k Tibet-separatists, I'd go fighting with you jerks if I had known I had no class today. Let's see who has more shoes. Don't ever forget that the shoes that flew at Bush are both made in China.

In DWnews, an independent media publication, someone, obviously reminded of Bush, commented:

没有创意。

No creativity.

And another netizen followed:

呼吁人肉搜索,把肇事者暴露出来!

Call for human flesh search engine, find the man out!

On Youtube, the video gathered a group of comments written in both English and Chinese.

guanchyun applauded for Wen

没给中国人丢脸,牛

You don't lose face for Chinese, cool!

qujiahe felt sorry for Wen

这么慈祥一老头都被扔鞋,剑桥那哥们脑子坏了么

Even so benign an old man was thrown by a shoe. The guy in Cambridge has his brain going wrong?

ddream777 commented in English

Shame on this jerk. And it's such an ugly shame the Cambridge lecture hall is as sacred as a Baghdad tent.

siuhuen said:

Answer to your question – Cambridge Uni invited the Chinese PM.
Such a shame though – one student threw a shoe at the speaker just becoz he has a different political view, and the respect the entire world has for Cambridge Uni just came tumbling down.

But Jianghua2 replied to the comment above:

siuhuen, inviting Wen Jiabao to this university already lowered it s respect, come on CCP is known for it s genocide tendencies. Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao are both responsible for crimes against Humanity in China and Tibet (if you believe is not part of China). So Campbridge lost all it s honor already!

And in Xiaonei, not everyone is so much indignant. User 张胜蓝 commented on the news:

难道只能布什给人扔鞋子,轮到温家宝就气愤了?

So only can Bush be thrown with shoes? And when it's Wen's turn, we turn out to be so furious?

另外温家宝那番话讲得也太官话,这样都热烈鼓掌?怀疑剑桥里面都是些什么人……

And Wen's reply to the incident is all too official. Even clap for this? I doubt who are those in Cambridge.

Regardless of how the internet and overseas media react to the shoe, however, the state-media covered up the news determinedly. In discussion boards and blog servers, also, nothing related to the incident can be found. It seems as if the shoe has never been thrown in this harmonic world.

Follow-up: After a short time of black-out, the authority is likely to have approved the report on the incident on Chinese media. The delay can be interpreted as a necessary time for the top officials to assess the situation and public opinion, in order to determine in what way the story be told.

  • Sucker

    Great job. I think Chinese PM deserve more than the shoe. He deserve shit on his face. Next time, its Hu Jintao turn.

  • robertdeniro

    I don’t think this is the best way to show your opinion.But I applaud your courage.In china,we cann’t express our ture thoughts about politic or anything involved politics.let alone freedom and democracy

  • Mengya Li

    Re: 张胜蓝
    He can throw his shoe at whoever he wants, Bush or Wen, but we have our right to speak out in retaliation if we feel the shoe-throw was unjustified. What, only the shoe-thrower has the right act on his opinions and we can’t even speak our minds? What kind of equality and rights is that?!

    As for Jianghua2, which rock did you crawl out from? CCP is known for genocide tendencies? I’m sorry, I know the CCP for its abilit to take a weak and impoverished country and within 60 years develop it into the next potential superpower, pulling out hundreds of millions of its people from poverty while they’re at it. Tibet’s a part of China, deal with it. Don’t think so? Go read a history book.

  • 王臻卿

    看来Cambridge University学生的素质也不怎么样,还世界名校呢,教育出如此粗鲁的学生。下回伦敦奥运圣火来中国的时候,我们也要去游行,把马尔维纳斯群岛还给阿根廷!!!!

  • yangchenjie

    敢这样 做,我X它

  • Charlie1111

    We shouldn’t pay much attention to this copy cat jerk. What really counts is that, Premier Wen, at almost 70 years old, is well respected among Chinese people in and outside China. He flew to the epicenter of the Beichuna Earthquake hours after the first quake. He was on the front line of the once-in-a hundred years snow storm. The booming economy doesn’t hurt either. On the Tibet, Taiwan and many other issues, the majority of the Chinese people agree with the government. This jerk is a shame to UK and Cambridge, nothing more.

  • calix

    all shut up, especially western guys. i tell you the bottom line: chinese will never give up the tibet land. think about it, what if the indians put all the cannons at high mountains in tibet? but this does not mean we han-chinese like tibetans. They are cruel and believe in an extreme religion, which only can exist in that extreme environment. and the chinese government are pouring billions of our john.q.taxpayers’ hard-earned money into that shit place. we actuall dont like it.
    wake up, westerners with the dream of pure tibet. it’s just a dream, if you go to the capital of tibet, you can find tibetans there are also very materialized.

  • http://cn.reuters.com Hu Yu

    Wrench Olympic torch from a wheelchair girl;throw shoe to an old and respected leader;so what kind of people those Tibet-separatists are?

  • Wordsfield

    What’s the hell s going on with the universe?!

  • goodboy

    Mengya Li
    Which book on Tibet would you recommend? All the objective histories I have read about Tibet make it quite clear that, although there was a continual change in the relationship between Tibet and China, over the centuries, Tibet has never been part of China until the CCP invasion.
    The only histories that argue otherwise are those produced by the CCP.

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