Chinese unmoved by Mayor's 'riot' gaffe

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The Independent Online

After a series of embarrassing gaffes, Ken Livingstone, the London Mayor, tried to steer the focus of his Chinese visit back to the business of promoting his city and boosting its Olympic expertise yesterday. Mr Livingstone and the Beijing Mayor, Wang Qishan signed a link-up between the two cities emphasising their Olympic ties.

It was the partnership agreement between the two cities that the Chinese media focused on in its reporting of Mr Livingstone's visit, rather than his blunder when visiting the site of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Mr Livingstone's visit is aimed at promoting trade and tourism between the cities and he hopes to build on Beijing's experience hosting the 2008 Olympics for London's 2012 planning.

But the Mayor surprised some people when he said during a visit to the square: "We've had some interesting riots in Trafalgar Square - I mean, only 20 years ago, the poll tax riots, and flames licking up." Today's visit to the Olympic Games village will provide some welcome relief for the London Mayor.

Mr Livingstone is travelling with Lord Coe, who led the London 2012 bid, leading a 70-strong delegation which will meet the organisers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics to foster relations with the 2012 committee.

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