Some see it as evidence of waning western influence, other were more interested in sharing comic strips on social mediaby Yuan Ren / July 8, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
Here in China, state television followed the European Union referendum campaign, but on the day of the result it was clear that not many people grasped its significance. Opinion pieces by Chinese commentators speculated on what Brexit could mean for the Chinese economy. While the state has been clear that Brexit was not in China’s interests, some commentators have suggested that it could be an opportunity for China.
On social media, people were sharing infographics and comic strips that explained the history of the EU—to much amusement. One popular strip portrayed the relationship between Britain and Europe as a failing marriage, with the UK as a high-class lady reluctantly marrying the EU, a below par but economically “suitable” boy. The UK berates her “husband” for bringing home members of the extended family, who were depicted as poor, Muslim refugees.
In China, discussions about the United States or Germany provoke strong reactions, particularly when it comes to relations with China. Among the older generation, the US is often seen as a troublemaker, particularly in relation to the South China Sea dispute waging between China and Japan over the extent of territorial waters. Germany is admired for its great engineering and hard working culture.
The UK is respected but kept at a distance. The array of trade deals China made with the UK in the last year are lost on much of the Chine…