Stephen Harper in China — who (in China) cares?

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Stephen Harper arrived in China on Wednesday, December 2nd, but it’s almost as if he did not. In Hong Kong at least, only official media (the China Daily) seems to be aware that our Prime Minister is visiting China on an official foreign mission — and they weren’t even cordial about it, criticizing him for not coming earlier.

What was in the Hong Kong papers today, December 4th, which concerns with the Prime Minister of Canada (with its 1.3 million-strong Chinese minority) visiting China? In the South China Morning Post, we have an article at the bottom of page A6, the last national news page:

SCMP (Friday, Dec 4, 2009)

Sino-Canadians leaders seal deals, including one on climate change

And flipping through Ming Pao and Sing Tao for a photo of Harper or mention of the characters “加拿大” (Canada), I found none and concluded that none of these major Hong Kong-based Chinese-language newspapers thought it was an issue as important as the two or three full pages to covering the Kam Nai-Wai saga, which saw new developments today.

In Thursday’s SCMP, the day after Harper’s stop in Beijing, there was also the puny A6 article, also taken from a press agency (despite the fact that the SCMP has a bureau in Beijing):

PM's visit to mend fences Canada broke: analyst

If we go back to the case of the China Daily, I must say that I did like most people in China and did not pick it up (it’s not a paper that people tend to read much). However, I did notice its signboard at the newsstand with the daily title, which had the word “thaw” in it if I remember well. This does contrast a lot with ecstatic treatment of Wen Jiabao’s visit to North Korea in October, or more recently, Obama’s visit to China (Obama being Obama, the news did cover page of many newspapers and fronted newscasts for most of the week he was here).

Other papers that had the choice chose not to cover Harper’s visit.

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