Liu Xiaoming

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Liu Xiaoming
刘晓明
Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to the UK.jpg
Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
March 2010 – 31 January 2021
Preceded byFu Ying
Succeeded byZheng Zeguang
Personal details
Born (1956-01-16) 16 January 1956 (age 66)
Liaoning, China
Political partyCommunist Party of China
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese刘晓明
Traditional Chinese劉曉明

Liu Xiaoming (Chinese: 刘晓明; born 16 January 1956) is a Chinese diplomat who served as the Ambassador of China to the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2021, under Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping. He retired as ambassador in January 2021 and will be replaced by Zheng Zeguang.[1]

Biography[edit]

Liu graduated from Dalian University of Foreign Languages with a major in English and undertook further studies in the United States, obtaining a master's degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1983.[2]

Between 2001 and 2003, Liu acted as China's ambassador in Egypt, and from 2006 to 2010 as Chinese ambassador in North Korea.[3] In 2010 he replaced Fu Ying as Chinese ambassador in the UK.[4]

In 2014, Liu likened Japan to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter series, by writing in The Telegraph: "If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation's soul." In response, Keiichi Hayashi, the Japanese ambassador to the UK, wrote an op-ed in the same newspaper headlined: "China risks becoming Asia's Voldemort".[5]

In 2018, Liu published a signed article in The Guardian on the subject of the US-China trade war, noting that while China was still open to negotiation, the US is maintaining a position of unilateralism.[6] In early May 2018, Liu noted that the North Korean government was closely watching the details surrounding the United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.[7]

On 24 November 2019, a BBC reporter confronted Liu over the Xinjiang re-education camps at a press conference in London. Liu dismissed the claims as "fake news".[8] On 25 November 2019, the Financial Times published a column by Liu. He said "I am convinced that flourishing educational co-operation is an important source of strength for relations between China and the UK". He further said "Recently, however, the House of Commons foreign affairs select committee issued a report accusing China of "interfering" with academic freedom in British universities. The charge is groundless and highly misleading".[9]

On 9 September 2019, Liu warned the Government of the United Kingdom of making "irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong". Liu said "politicians were free to express their opinion – within limits".[10] On 6 February 2020, Liu claimed his embassy had received reports of anti-Chinese racism at UK universities and schools. He said "I think there are many reasons for it. Lack of understanding of the epidemic. Of course, there is also some deep-seated racism. Not only in this country, but anywhere".[11] On 27 February 2020, he said China will remain an "economic powerhouse, even after Covid-19".[12] On 4 April 2020, the Evening Standard published a column by Liu. He said "As Covid-19 continues to spread around the world and the combat against the virus is at a critical stage, some politicians in the United States and here in this country, however, are spreading lies and stigmatizing China. A lie remains a lie even though it is repeated a thousand times. But we must also get the truth out."[13] In May 2020, Liu said anti-China rhetoric is in danger of undermining international solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He also said UK MPs were in a "cold war mindset".[14] On 4 July 2020, Liu told students to "leverage their strength" as the UK overtakes the US as the most popular destination for Chinese students for the first time. He urged students to practice patriotism and "serve your motherland" — activities he described as the "foundation of all endeavor and the highest ambition in life" and also encouraged them to contribute to "China-UK exchanges and cooperation" and "bridge the cultural gap".[15][16]

Huawei[edit]

On 9 February 2020, Liu said Tory politicians opposed to telecoms equipment maker Huawei playing a role in the UK's 5G network are conducting "a witch-hunt".[17] On 6 July 2020, Liu said the UK will "bear the consequences" if it treats China as a "hostile" country in deciding whether to allow Huawei a role in UK 5G phone networks.[18] After the UK Government's announcement that mobile providers would be banned from buying new Huawei 5G equipment after 31 December 2020, Liu questioned whether the UK can provide a "fair" business environment for foreign firms. He said "It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries."[19]

Hong Kong protests[edit]

In July 2019, Liu criticized the British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, saying that it was "totally wrong ... to talk about freedom" after the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests and that instead it was "a matter about breaking laws in Hong Kong".[20] The same day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had said Hunt was "obsessed with the bad habit of criticizing and lecturing on other countries' affairs condescendingly". This resulted in Liu being summoned to the British Foreign Office to explain the "unacceptable and inaccurate" comments and Hunt warned of "serious consequences" if China exercised a human rights crackdown because of the protests.[21][22]

In November 2019, Liu said that British politicians and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee were making "irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong" and that Western powers were "taking sides" in what he said were China's internal affairs.[23] Liu also said in a tweet that countries interfering in Hong Kong were "only shooting [themselves] in the foot".[24]

Hong Kong national security law[edit]

Liu said the UK's offer of a path to citizenship for up to three million Hong Kongers amounted to "gross interference". He told a virtual conference "The UK government keeps making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs".[25] Liu further said "We have do decide our counter-measures in accordance with the actual actions taken by the British side."[26]

Twitter incident[edit]

In September 2020, Liu's Twitter account was discovered to have "liked" a 10-second video of a woman using her feet to perform a sexual act on a man.[27] In response, the Chinese embassy released a press statement, saying "some anti-China elements viciously attacked Ambassador Liu Xiaoming's Twitter account and employed despicable methods to deceive the public", and urged Twitter to investigate the matter.[27]

Resignation[edit]

In December 2020, it was announced that Liu was to retire from his post as ambassador and be replaced by Zheng Zeguang.[1]

Korean Peninsula affairs representative[edit]

On April 13, 2021, Liu was appointed to work on matters concerning the Korean Peninsula.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ng, Teddy; Guo, Rui (December 26, 2020). "China's ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming set to retire". South China Morning Post. Guangzhou. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
  2. ^ "Liu Xiaoming". Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "China will speak up on North Korea issues with new 'wolf warrior' appointee | NK News". April 13, 2021. Archived from the original on April 14, 2021.
  4. ^ "Chinese President Hu Jintao Appoints New Ambassadors". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China. March 9, 2010. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  5. ^ "China And Japan Are Calling Each Other 'Voldemort' As Propaganda War Escalates". BusinessInsider. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  6. ^ Liu, Xiaoming (April 10, 2018). "China does not want a trade war with the US, but it must defend itself". the Guardian. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  7. ^ "Kim Jong Un Is Watching Trump's Iran Decision, Chinese Envoy Says". Bloomberg.com. May 8, 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  8. ^ "China's UK ambassador: Uighur camps leak is 'fake news'". BBC News. November 25, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  9. ^ "China wants to build deeper educational links with Britain". Financial Times. November 25, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  10. ^ "Avoid irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong, China warns UK MPs". The Guardian. September 9, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "Anti-Chinese racism 'even reported at primary schools' amid virus outbreak". Express & Star. February 6, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  12. ^ "UK assured China will bounce back". Asia Times. February 27, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "UK assured China will bounce back". Evening Standard. April 4, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "Disperse lies with trust and beat the virus with cooperation". Bloomberg News. May 5, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Award Ceremony of 2019 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad". www.fmprc.gov.cn. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  16. ^ "Chinese students in Britain told to serve motherland". Financial Times. July 4, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  17. ^ "Huawei: UK 5G concerns 'a witch-hunt' says Chinese ambassador". BBC. February 9, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "China envoy warns of 'consequences' if Britain rejects Huawei". Financial Times. July 6, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "UK's Huawei 5G network ban 'disappointing and wrong'". BBC News. July 15, 2020. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  20. ^ Wintour, Patrick (July 3, 2019). "UK summons China ambassador in row over Hong Kong protests". The Guardian. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  21. ^ Griffiths, James (July 4, 2019). "Diplomatic spat between UK and China after Beijing slams London's 'colonial' attitude to Hong Kong". CNN. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  22. ^ Oliphant, Roland; Yan, Sophie (July 3, 2019). "Britain summons Chinese ambassador as he accuses Government of taking 'wrong side' on Hong Kong". The Telegraph. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  23. ^ Wintour, Patrick (November 18, 2019). "China accuses Britain of taking sides on Hong Kong protests". The Guardian. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  24. ^ Liu, Xiaoming [@AmbLiuXiaoMing] (November 16, 2019). "To those foreign forces interfering in Hong Kong affairs: You are only shooting yourself in the foot" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ "Hong Kong: Chinese ambassador warns UK over 'interference'". BBC. July 6, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  26. ^ "China Doesn't Rule Out Blocking Hong Kongers Leaving for U.K.'". Bloomberg News. July 6, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  27. ^ a b "Embassy blames 'anti-China elements' after UK ambassador's Twitter account 'likes' porn clip". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2020.