Xi Jinping China state visit: Chinese media describes UK public as 'potato lovers who can't drink tea properly'

State media avoided mention of anti-China protests or British politicians raising human rights concerns

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The Independent Online

Chinese media have extensively covered President Xi Jinping's state visit in the UK, but avoided mention of anti-China protests or British politicians raising human rights concerns.

"London rolls out the reddest carpet to welcome Xi Jinping," read the state-run Global Times newspaper headline.

Seeking to explain British food and customs to their readers, Chinese journalists described the British as potato lovers who can't drink tea properly.

Chinese journalists were confused by the Duchess of Cambridge's decision to "borrow" a tiara belonging to the Queen Mother.

Chinese news website ifeng.com told readers the Duchess first wore the Queen Mother's tiara in 2013, and wrote that they were surprised she didn't just get a new one for the state banquet.

British Union flags and Chinese flags fly together on the Mall in central London, on October 18, 2015.

They were also intrigued by Viscount Hood, the Queen's Lord-in-Waiting who met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday.

State journalists falsely assumed he is the Queen's £15,000-a-year "personal butler", who is also in charge of serving her food and choosing her outfits, the Daily Mail reports.

Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People's Republic of China, described Britain's eating and drinking habits to its readers.

"Potato is very important in British cuisine," it wrote. "It can be seen as a staple in British meals."

Describing Britain's history of tea-drinking, it says: "Chinese tea found its way to the UK in the 17th century. British did not understand how to drink tea at first, they ate the tea lives, thinking it was a delicacy.

"It was not long before they understood the use of tea leaves.

"Since then, British fell in love with tea and changed their habit of only drinking coffee and beer."

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The report goes on to describe how British people enjoy fish and chips, English breakfast and high tea.

Chinese state media focused on Mr Xi with the Queen at the state banquet, showing his ride in a gilded carriage and his address to Parliament.

No images were shown of the dozens of protesters at The Mall calling for David Cameron to raise human rights issues, The Daily Telegraph reports. 

Ai Wei Wei, a political activist and artist, accused David Cameron of "putting human rights aside" in his eagerness to secure deals worth billions of pounds.