It's our 'beautiful communist bicycles' that attract Chinese students to London, says Boris Johnson

Mayor of London joked in a speech that Chinese students are attracted by London's weather and 'beautiful communist bikes'

The Mayor of London was mobbed by Chinese students with camera phones in Beijing’s fashionable art district, on the first day of a six-day trade mission.

During a speech that launched the first official Chinese language website promoting the capital, Boris Johnson asked the crowd in jest whether Chinese students are attracted to the capital because of its “beautiful communist bicycles”, weather and its French restaurants.

At the gallery that was previously a factory, he also said London’s popularity was owed to its “polychromatic” diversity and multitude of higher education institutions.

“I'll tell you what I think it is. It's because we have more universities in London than any other city on Earth - 42 universities in London.

”As the daughter of a great Chinese businessman explained it to me - she said the reason she decided to come and study in London and not in America, because when you go to America you meet Americans, when you come to London you meet the world,“ said Johnson.

He later admitted that Beijing has even more than London, but said: “we gloss over that detail”.

Later, Mr Johnson joked about he and George Osborne singing songs after banquets – an apparent reference to their days as members of the notorious University of Oxford Bullingdon Club, the exclusive all-male drinking society with a reputation for destructive high jinks.

The Chancellor and other Government ministers are also visiting China this week as part of a separate trade mission.  Their trips will coincide on Monday when they will both give speeches at Peking University.

The London Mayor was mobbed by Chinese students with camera phones in Beijing’s fashionable art district, on the first day of a six-day trade mission in the country.

During a speech that launched the first official Chinese language website promoting the capital, Boris Johnson asked the crowd in jest whether Chinese students are attracted to the city because of its “beautiful communist bicycles”, weather and its French restaurants.

At the gallery that was previously a factory, he said London also owed its popularity to its “polychromatic” diversity and multitude of higher education institutions.

”I'll tell you what I think it is. It's because we have more universities in London than any other city on Earth - 42 universities in London.

“As the daughter of a great Chinese businessman explained it to me - she said the reason she decided to come and study in London and not in America, [is] because when you go to America you meet Americans, when you come to London you meet the world,” said Johnson.

He later admitted that Beijing has even more universities than London, but said: “we gloss over that detail”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living