While the official welcome was warm, it was not the only reception awaiting China’s president as he arrived in the UK. Protesters jeered Hu Jintao as he started a state visit to Britain, where he will stay at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Queen Elizabeth. There, the presidential couple will be treated to a lavish banquet. Mr Hu will also go to Downing Street to meet Tony Blair.
Amid the pomp and ceremony, wide-ranging talks are scheduled. Tackling global warming and the two countries growing trade ties are both on the agenda. Beijing’s human rights record is also set to be discussed. That is of particular interest to some 200 demonstrators who lined the area outside the palace to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet. Britain is Mr Hu’s first stop on a trip that will take him to Germany, Spain and South Korea.