Sunday 4 December 2011

Exotic visitors

Recently Carmarthenshire County Council was visited by a deputation from the Standing Committee of Yichang People's Congress from Hubei Province in China. The committee, which is in reality a branch of the Chinese Communist Party, met senior councillors and presumably also some senior officers, and brought gifts of scarves and boxes of tea.

What links Carmarthenshire and Yichang in Hubei Province, we may well be wondering. Could this be the start of a new far-flung twinning scheme, perhaps?

The only obvious recent link between the county and China was the announcement a couple of weeks ago that a planning application has gone in from a Chinese-owned company called Maxhard Ltd to build a luxury holiday village at Pantglas Hall near Llandeilo. Perhaps there is some connection.

The oddest aspect of this visit is the council's unaccustomed silence on the whole subject. No press releases or photo shoots of smiling members of the county's Executive Board exchanging gifts, cake cutting or tours around the National White Elephant Collection. Strange for a PR-obsessed council not to seize on something like this.

The only other link between Carmarthenshire County Council and the People's Republic of China in recent times was the interest the Chinese media showed in the arrest of Jacqui Thompson, democracy activist from Llanwrda who tried to film a council meeting.

Anyone familiar with China will know that stories such as that are only reported if the political leadership feels that they somehow in line with current party thinking. Perhaps they were just admiring the council's robust attitude towards free speech and political liberty, or perhaps the message was that Western liberal democracies are hypocrites who preach one thing to countries like China, while locking up their own democracy activists. Who knows?

Whatever the reason for the visit, Carmarthenshire County Council is every bit as inscrutable as its visitors.


Anonymous said...

Meryl Gravell seeking advice on establishing a Communist Party in Carmarthenshire!

Jac o' the North, said...

I thought Carmarthenshire was already a dictatorship.

Photon said...

He he, Jac!

There must be something the Chinese want if they're here. Look at their 'visits' to Africa, south America and elsewhere.

Anyone living on a potential mine in Carms? Reserve your mineral rights now!

mbc said...

Probably seeking advice & co-operation on land clearance so that vast tracts of the county can be turned over to the Chinese for their holiday parks ... my blood runs cold...