A man who threw a shoe at the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to Cambridge University in the UK has been charged with a public order offence. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has criticised the protest as “despicable”, but says it will not affect what it calls increasingly friendly relations between London and Beijing. Following the lead of an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former US President George Bush, the protester condemned the university for hosting what he called a “dictator”.
University spokesman Tim Holt voiced his disapproval. “We’ve had a very successful event this afternoon,” he said. “There was one unfortunate incident … but the university is a place for debate and considered argument, not for shoe throwing.” Prime Minister Gordon Brown met the Chinese leader during his visit, but a planned reception at Buckingham Palace was cancelled due to bad weather.