Is it true that there’s no place like home?

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO -

Twenty years ago this month, Hong Kong was re­turned to China — an event that is of­ten con­sid­ered to mark the for­mal end of the Bri­tish Em­pire.

Yet there seems to be some re­luc­tance, back home in the United King­dom, to ad­mit that the Bri­tish hege­mony of the 19th and early 20th cen­turies is now a thing of the past.

Last year’s Euro­pean Union mem­ber­ship ref­er­en­dum pro­vided am­ple ev­i­dence of this, with the Brexit vote won, at least in part, be­cause of a cer­tain xeno­pho­bic nos­tal­gia for the “good old days”.

De­spite the coun­try’s ex­tended pe­riod of de­cline in power and in­flu­ence over the past cen­tury, many Bri­tons still refuse to ac­cept this new re­al­ity. Fer­vent na­tion-

This Day, That Year

Item­fromJuly5,1983,in Chi­naDaily:Lo­calau­thor­i­tiesare­pro­mot­ingteasales whilethereis­still­huge po­ten­tialintheru­ral­mar­ket to­be­tapped.

Some­newwaystousetea have­been­in­vented,in­clud­ingtea-fla­voredicelol­lies and­pas­tries.

China is the world’s largest pro­ducer and con­sumer of tea.

Last year, the coun­try pro­duced more than 2.4 mil­lion met­ric tons of tea, or 40 per­cent of all the tea grown in al­ism, em­bod­ied in such anachro­nis­tic “an­thems” as Rule Bri­tan­nia and ex­pounded by cer­tain el­e­ments of Eng­land’s rightwing press, is rife — es­pe­cially among the older gen­er­a­tion.

In the four years since I left, my home­land, once syn­ony­mous with state­craft and sta­bil­ity, now looks to be founder­ing.

In ad­di­tion to ref­er­en­dums, the Bri­tish public has twice in as many years been asked to de­cide on who should run the coun­try. Such a rash of polls hardly smacks of so­lid­ity, nor does it serve to in­spire con­fi­dence in Western-style democ­racy.

Con­trast that with China, which over the same pe­riod has taken on an ever greater role in world affairs with the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and its com­mit­ment to com­bat­ing cli­mate change in the face of the United States’ with­drawal.

The sup­posed lead­ers of the world, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture.

It also con­sumed more than 2 mil­lion tons last year, or 1.5 kilo­gram for ev­ery ci­ti­zen.

Tea, an in­te­gral part of Chi­nese cul­ture, is one of the coun­try’s most fa­mous ex­ports.

Last year, ex­ports rose by 1.2 per­cent year-on-year to 329,000 tons, ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese Cham­ber of Com­merce of Food­stuffs and Na­tive Pro­duce.

To pro­mote Chi­nese tea, the first China In­ter­na­tional the UK, mean­while, keep call­ing elec­tion af­ter elec­tion, vote af­ter vote, each only re­ally serv­ing to make the coun­try weaker.

Both the Brexit ref­er­en­dum and the lat­est elec­tion, which wasn’t due for another three years, were called need­lessly by Bri­tain’s cur­rent party of govern­ment ei­ther in the hopes of heal­ing in­ter­nal rifts or tight­en­ing its grip on power. Nei­ther plan worked. In­stead, through such mis­cal­cu­la­tions and hubris, the fu­ture of the UK now looks to be in real doubt.

In just two short years, Bri­tain will exit the EU. That’s not a long time to ne­go­ti­ate all the var­i­ous bor­der, tar­iff, trade, cit­i­zen­ship, im­mi­gra­tion and other is­sues that need to be sorted out.

If the coun­try’s newly en­fee­bled govern­ment fails to reach a deal in time, then it will go over what’s been de­scribed as the “cliff edge”, cut off from some of its most Tea Expo was held in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, in May.

Cus­tom­made teas tar­get­ing for­eign mar­kets are also be­ing made.

In 2015, the Em­pire Brewing Co started brewing a Two Dragons beer with Jing­wei Fu tea, a type of fer­mented tea pro­duced in Shaanxi prov­ince, to tap new op­por­tu­ni­ties in the sec­tor. im­por­tant al­lies and big­gest eco­nomic part­ners.

Pro­po­nents of Brexit hark back to an imag­ined past, con­jur­ing up a ro­man­ti­cized view of an im­pe­rial Bri­tain that traded with the world. But this is a fal­lacy.

As Dan­ish Fi­nance Min­is­ter Kris­tian Jensen noted last month: “There are two kinds of Euro­pean na­tions — small na­tions and coun­tries that have not yet re­al­ized they are small na­tions.”

And it was none other than Sir Henry Tizard, chief sci­en­tific ad­viser to the UK’s Min­istry of De­fense, who said Bri­tain is “not a great power, and never will be again”.

He wrote those words in 1949. Per­haps it’s time his coun­try heeded them.

Con­tact the writer at gre­gory@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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In­dus­try spe­cial­ists say man­u­fac­tur­ers should use new tech­nol­ogy to im­prove qual­ity and taste to at­tract more over­seas cus­tomers.

More than 2 bil­lion peo­ple across the world drink tea.

YU WENGUO / FOR CHINA DAILY

A woman rides a bike with her chil­dren in Huax­ian county, He­nan prov­ince, on Satur­day.

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